The Game is Ever Afoot

Sunday, May 6, AD 2012

Time to refresh my creds as Chief Geek of the blog.  Season 2 of the series Sherlock is debuting in America on Mystery tonight on most PBS channels at 8:00 PM Central Time.  The series is a grand bringing of Sherlock Holmes into the present century.  It is wittily written, part send up of the original Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and part homage.  The improbably named Benedict Cumberbatch is superb in the title role, playing Holmes as a genius as a detective and a moron in dealing with all of humanity, but for Dr.  Watson.  Dr. Watson, Martin Freeman, is a British medical officer, fresh from traumatic injuries due to his service in Afghanistan (yes, the more things change, often the more they stay the same), who blogs about Holmes’ exploits as part of his therapy.  I highly endorse the series for anyone who likes to either think or laugh.

Sherlock Holmes is a prime example of a literary creation that completely escapes from his creator.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle grew tired of Holmes and attempted to kill him off, only relenting to bringing him back after his “death” at the Reichenbach Falls due to unceasing demands from Holmes’ devoted, if not crazed, fans.  Doyle tended to look down his nose at Holmes:  “If I had never touched Holmes, who has tended to obscure my higher work, my position in literature would at the present moment be a more commanding one,” he once wrote, which is a hoot since his other writings were the most forgettable drek imaginable.  Doyle wrote the last of his Sherlock Holmes stories in 1926 and died in 1930.  Since that time not a year has gone by without authors trying their hands at new Holmes stories, and placing Holmes in every setting imaginable including the distant future, outer space, fantasy realms, etc.

The continuing popularity of Holmes is something of a mystery, which is appropriate.  It is hard to attribute it to simply love of mystery stories, since most mystery sleuths are dead as soon as their creators shuffle off this vale of tears.    Perhaps it is because Holmes, through his powers of observation, can so simply and swiftly glean the truth.  What an all important ability to possess!  Alas the same could not be said for his creator, Sir Arthur.  He deserted Catholicism for spiritualism (seances and that sort of rubbish) which is akin to feasting on a rich mud pie and then developing a fondness for eating actual mud.  GK. Chesterton, who drew illustrations for an unpublished, during his lifetime, edition of the Holmes story, upon learning of Doyles’ conversion had this memorable quip:  It has long seemed to me that Sir Arthur’s mentality is much more that of Watson than it is of Holmes.

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26 Responses to The Game is Ever Afoot

  • Dr. Watson was wont to say when confronted with absolute evil: “Saints preserve us.” a short prayer I have taken for myself, but that prayer has been excised from every story since. This latest which I hope to view says: “God help us”, Thank God. The story with Jeremy Brett as you probably know, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used cocaine, was a teaching film for the use of the drug. Holmes opened his desk drawer, removed a syringe and proceeded to “expand his mind”, before his audience, to which I objected at the library. Doyle probably lost his Catholic Faith after he lost his mind. As the Intellectual Property of Doyle, Sherlock Holmes ought to have been presented as Doyle invented him. As an afterthought, Houdini never did show up at Doyle’s seances.

  • (Spoilers ahead in this comment)

    The first season of Sherlock was great. I’ve actually managed to see the three episodes of the second season (which I believe aired on the BBC in March). Although not as good as the first season, it was still very enjoyable. Sherlock’s version of Moriarty was somewhat annoying, however, and there is more of him in season 2.

    Be warned though: the first episode was a take on a “Scandal in Bohemia” and Irene Adler was a “dominatrix.” There was some nudity involved. It was a good episode despite the BBC’s lasciviousness, though I could see if people would have some objections to the episode.

  • I’ll tune in tonight to check it out as I didn’t see any of the first season. I guess I’m not exactly a purist as I adore the Jeremy Brett version, but I do also appreciate the Basil Rathbone one. The Hollywood movie was unwatchable ~ I ejected the disc from my player in the first 15 minutes.

    I just finished reading Murder in the Vatican and recommen it highly. It was almost like reading Doyle and was such a pleasure to stroll along with Holmes, Watson and Pope Leo!

  • I think part of the appeal of Holmes is that he’s strong, odd, explains how to find hidden knowledge, and is kinda scary if he’s not on your side.

  • I’m a big fan of the new Sherlock, although I’ve only seen the first movie– always annoyed me that the movies had him so inactive. (I know it’s partly a limitation of the old technology, and the sedentary detective thing has its charms, but eh.)

  • Basil Rathbone’s depiction – hands down. Understated, but constant mental activity and wit. Scenery, sounds, and characters beautiful.
    I loved the drapes in the Jeremy Brett version – he was good, but the focus was the modern psych taint which spoiled the detective story. Dr. Watson was OK. Just can’t remake perfection.
    Can’t even watch the later versions.

  • I believe you meant ROBERT Downey Jr.? 🙂

    Believe it or not, one of my favorite Holmeses was Nicholas Rowe in “Young Sherlock Holmes,” a 1985 flick that portrayed Holmes and Watson’s meeting as schoolboys and how they solved their first “case”. It was very much outside the Doyle canon and had an over the top plot involving a secret Egyptian cult with Temple of Doom-type rituals, but, I thought Rowe was kinda handsome, and the movie’s explanations for the origins of many of Holmes’ signature habits (like wearing the deerstalker cap) were sorta plausible. If you watch it and haven’t seen it before, be sure you keep watching ALL the way to the end of the credits!

  • I must be doing something wrong – maybe I’ve missed something – the sign of a mispent youth, perhaps? 😉
    I loved reading Conan-Doyle when I was young – Holmes’ impeccable penetrating logic used to fascinate me. However, that fascination has not persued me in my later life, nor the desire to be a movie buff; I view what I Think I will enjoy, and a modern day Holmes does not interest me.
    Can i still comment here? 😉

  • Don-
    I like Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock. If I can still be here, I’m sure you’re welcome!

    *random thought*
    Oh, dear… we’ve Sherlock, we’ve got Kipling, but nobody’s done Gilbert and Sullivan. I was recently informed that most folks go “who?”

    I may have to actually do some research and start sharing old Comedic Opera…..

  • “I believe you meant ROBERT Downey Jr.? ”
    Oops! Yes I did Elaine, although the concept of Holmes as a crazed talk show host certainly has possibilities.

  • “Can i still comment here? ”

    Of course Don, we have no heresy trials for those who do not enjoy Holmes! Yet. 🙂

  • foxfier.
    I’m sure Don McC posted some stuff on Gilbert and Sullivan some time back. In my boyhood days at Sacred Heart College we did the Savoy operas – I loved them then, and still do today. Their commentary on the society of the time is still valid today.

  • I watched the first episode last night, my first viewing of this series. It was pretty good, great acting of course. I’ll probably give it another try next week, but it didn’t grab me.

    I liked the portrayal of Sherlock even though he seemed much too young and like a boy instead of a man. I liked Watson but I didn’t like the portrayal of Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft. Much prefer the Mycroft in the Jeremy Brett version, his humor, intellect and warmth. I also didn’t appreciate the portrayal of The Woman as a dominatrix and the nudity scene. It was a clever use of our current techy world (blogging instead of writing, texting, etc.) but I much prefer being immersed in the times and social mores of the previous century!

  • “I also didn’t appreciate the portrayal of The Woman as a dominatrix and the nudity scene.”

    Neither did I. What passes for sophistication on the BBC is usually simple amoral vulgarity with elegant phrasing. Other than that I enjoyed the episode.

  • Kiwi Don-
    I’d say they’re still relevant because they’re more about human nature that strictly society… might be poe-tay-toe, poe-taw-toe, though.

    Musing about this last night (this morning, but meh) while taking care of the Duchess, and suddenly realized: Batman is Sherlock.
    Line of thought: Sherlock would be a Mary Sue if he were written wrong– even his “big” weakness of not caring about things that aren’t useful (like the number of planets) doesn’t really matter much, because right about what’s of use. He’s smart, comfortably well off, well known in his circles, master of disguise, strong, and although I can’t remember my mental image from just the books, the actors that play him are striking and attractive.
    Much like Superman. Except that he’s darker, more technology based, only superhuman in the sense that he’s honed, a detective….
    Batman came out in Detective comics.
    Dark, striking, disguises himself so well that those who know him won’t recognize him, amazingly honed at his chosen goal— wow.

  • Doyle didn’t promote cocaine! In his first book, cocaine was regarded as the latest high tech, unaddictive wonder drug, because that’s how the medical profession regarded it, and Watson’s uneasiness about it was a sign of his army surgeon days making him not in touch with the latest medical fashions. By the time he wrote his second book, Doyle knew that cocaine was deadly, because half his med school buddies died from experimenting with it. Thereafter, the stories and Watson were resolutely anti-drug, even though Holmes made various lame excuses; and Watson eventually got Holmes off cocaine.

  • I watch the show last night – I think I’ll pass. What I find irritating is the constant British need to bash Americans – the need to feel “superior” in every encounter. What is that all about? You hardly ever see it the other way around. Am I the only one who noticed this?

  • “What I find irritating is the constant British need to bash Americans – the need to feel “superior” in every encounter. What is that all about? You hardly ever see it the other way around. Am I the only one who noticed this?”

    Americans have been noticing that long before 1776. Benjamin Franklin February 27, 1767:
    ” But the Pride of this People cannot bear the Thoughts of it. Every Man in England seems to consider himself as a Piece of a Sovereign over America; seems to jostle himself into the Throne with the King, and talks of our Subjects in the Colonies.”

    http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/essays/disputes-with-america.htm

    When it comes to the BBC you have the traditional upper crust snottiness towards America combined with a fairly left wing view of the World.

  • Thank you, Maureen. I did not know that.
    When the movie began I thought James Bond. The nudity and Holmes’ and Dr. Watson’s focus on the mystery instead of succumbing to lust or distress and disorientation, simply letting the Dominatrix do her thing, and they theirs, was well done. There definitely was something for everybody, nudity, which was handled with some gentility, S&M, violence, even some intrigue and highjinx. Half way through, the number of the plane was 007. 007 was James Bond’s cipher. 007 is the license to kill. (In Ian Fleming’s James Bond films, ”M” his head master, was in the real life counterpart a double spy for the Soviets, which kind of ruined the stories for me.) Wasn’t Coventry where the British decoded Hitler and from where the British were able to send false messages to confound the Madman? The highjinx was captivating, especially the part where Sherlock unearths “The Woman’s” human warmth and affection for him by way of her open irises, and he, Holmes, repaying the compliment by saving her head, was WOW. Always one step ahead. Just like my mother. Dr. Watson’s part was too small and not engaging enough for me. Moriarity’s part was rather, shall I say, dumb, but how does one play an evildoer without being dumb? Perhaps next week? Thank you, Donald, for the cue.

  • Americans have been noticing that long before 1776. Benjamin Franklin February 27, 1767:
    ” But the Pride of this People cannot bear the Thoughts of it. Every Man in England seems to consider himself as a Piece of a Sovereign over America; seems to jostle himself into the Throne with the King, and talks of our Subjects in the Colonies.” That is why God wanted the Chosen People to have no king, the people were sovereigns unto themselves, but they insisted and God let them. Only in America are the people sovereign persons, sovereigns unto themselves. FREEDOM and the British maybe jealous. Pitifully these people think that they need somebody to lord it over to be somebody.

  • Excellent clip of the Pirates of Penzance, Don. 🙂 The stage setting is very good.

    Siobhan
    “What I find irritating is the constant British need to bash Americans – the need to feel “superior” in every encounter.”

    I wouldn’t worry too much about that – come down here and see how the Kiwis and Aussies bash eachother. Its a sort of “sibling rivalry”, if you will, and its mainly impersonal. Get to meet the people face to face and they’re, mostly, good people.
    When I was a lad, post war, we used to get many migrants from England (or Britain) coming “down to the colonies” to show the colonials how things were done. They copped a lot of stick – more so in Australia than here – but they soon got to know who was teaching who, and either settled in and became one of the “colonials”, or went back to the UK, complete with the big chip on shoulder.
    In my experience though, the vast majority were good people.

  • Don, my beloved great uncle Bill Barry who joined the Royal Army to teach the Limies how to fight, as he said, and served from 1939-45, whenever he would see me when I was a toddler would say, “There’s that dirty Yank!” To which I would respond, “There’s that dirty Newf!” Good natured ribbing among the components of the Anglosphere runs in my veins!

  • Just wanted to thank you. On the basis of this blog post, I went to netflix
    and watched the first season of Sherlock. Loved it.

  • One thing Sherlock Holmes said that makes sense: “I restored the balance in nature” as his reason for being. Every crime, sin, and evil disrupts the balance in nature and tears the fabric of society. Jesus Christ crucified restores the balance in nature.

Obama’s Ideological Brinkmanship

Monday, April 23, AD 2012

We knew it would come to this, but we weren’t sure until when until the Obama administration announced the contraception mandate; even then, we weren’t sure when exactly it would be explicitly spelled out by the leadership of the Church. I am referring to the U.S. bishop’s recent statement declaring, among other things, the following:

It is a sobering thing to contemplate our government enacting an unjust law. An unjust law cannot be obeyed. In the face of an unjust law, an accommodation is not to be sought, especially by resorting to equivocal words and deceptive practices. If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them. No American desires this. No Catholic welcomes it. But if it should fall upon us, we must discharge it as a duty of citizenship and an obligation of faith.

It is essential to understand the distinction between conscientious objection and an unjust law. Conscientious objection permits some relief to those who object to a just law for reasons of conscience—conscription being the most well-known example. An unjust law is “no law at all.” It cannot be obeyed, and therefore one does not seek relief from it, but rather its repeal. (Emphasis added)

In making this statement, the bishops have echoed Pope Leo XIII’s statement in his encyclical Libertas: “But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God.”

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28 Responses to Obama’s Ideological Brinkmanship

  • Thank you, Bonchamps! Shared on Facebook!

  • I believe it was Edmund Burke who said, “An unjust law is the worst form of tyranny.”

  • Too many Catholics have embraced a false notion of the relationship between religion and politics. Basing themselves on Suarez’s interpretation of St Thomas, they have talked of a “natural order,” governed by Natural Law, consisting of truths accessible to unaided human reason, as something that can be kept separate from the supernatural truths revealed in the Gospel. “Under such circumstances, the supernatural is no longer properly speaking another order, something unprecedented, overwhelming and transfiguring” (Henri de Lubac)

    It was this that led Laberthonnière, a hundred years ago now, to accuse the Neo-Thomists of his day of ““a false theological notion of some state of pure nature and therefore imagined the state could be self-sufficient in the sense that it could be properly independent of any specifically Christian sense of justice.”

    It led his friend and contemporary, Maurice Blondel, to insist that we must never forget “that one cannot think or act anywhere as if we do not all have a supernatural destiny. Because, since it concerns the human being such as he is, in concreto, in his living and total reality, not in a simple state of hypothetical nature, nothing is truly complete (boucle), even in the sheerly natural order”

    Jacques Maritain, too, declared that “the knowledge of human actions and of the good conduct of the human State in particular can exist as an integral science, as a complete body of doctrine, only if related to the ultimate end of the human being. . . the rule of conduct governing individual and social life cannot therefore leave the supernatural order out of account”

    Unless we insist, in Blondel’s words, that we can “find only in the spirit of the gospel the supreme and decisive guarantee of justice and of the moral conditions of peace, stability, and social prosperity,” we shall inevitable acquiesce in practice in the Liberal privatisation of religion.

  • Well, that’s all very interesting.

    How is it related to what I wrote?

    Not being sarcastic here; I’d really like to know.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “a natural order” is inscribed in our Declaration of Independence: “the laws of nature and nature’s God”. To change our founding principles ratified 236 years ago, requires a change by two-thirds of the states agreeing to the change. It IS that simple. Joseph Suarez based on Saint Thomas Aquinas (saints are in heaven with God), Suarez says: “Human existence (from God) is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights” Human existence begins when two become one flesh and our Creator gives the child a sovereign personhood endowed with unalienable rights to life. Obamacare is one rung in the ladder of one world government under one world bank instead of under God, disallowing the soul of man, because the soul of man cries out to God to be heard and the soul of man will be heard. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Gorbachev, Putin, they can wait, there are many waitng in the shadows for the one world shadow government under the world bank to step center stage. They show the face of Dr. Jekyl. If they showed the face of Mr. Hyde, who would vote for them, or trust them. In God we trust, “our Creator”

  • “I was deeply disappointed with the bishop’s support for Obamacare, and I still reject the wholly prudential argument that a national healthcare scheme is required to secure some sort of “human right” for people in this country. I especially reject the notion that a militantly secular regime such as Obama’s could ever be entrusted to secure such a right. One can only hope that the lesson was learned, and that it is not too late.”

    Unfortunately I don’t think they will. Many are still bound by the current, disordered sense of social justice. It was this disordered sense of justice that brought about support for Obama’s health care reform.

  • Hilaire Belloc summed it up very well, when he said that “Catholic life is not normal to a society unless Catholic morals and doctrine be supreme therein. Unless the morals of the Faith appear fully in the laws of that society, unless it be the established and authoritative religion of that society, the Church is ill at ease… She proposes to take in men’s minds even more than the place taken by patriotism; to influence the whole of society, not a part of it, and to influence it even more thoroughly than a common language. Where She is confronted by any agency inimical to Her claim, though that agency be not directly hostile, She cannot but oppose it.”

    It is the failure to keep this truth before our minds and the acceptance of a compromise that proposed a government founded on merely natural principles and, guided by human reason, pursuing merely natural ends that has brought us to this pass.

    As for “Nature and Nature’s God,” Pascal warned us, “All those who seek God apart from Christ, and who go no further than nature, either find no light to satisfy them or come to devise a means of knowing and serving God without a mediator, thus falling into either atheism or deism, two things almost equally abhorrent to Christianity… They imagine that it simply consists in worshipping God considered to be great and mighty and eternal, which is properly speaking deism, almost as remote from the Christian religion as atheism.” This is the God of the Phiosophes, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  • Phillip: “I was deeply disappointed with the bishop’s support for Obamacare, and I still reject the wholly prudential argument that a national healthcare scheme is required to secure some sort of “human right” for people in this country. ” Healthcare is CHARITY, a voluntary virtue. One of man’s responses to the gift of Faith from God. CHARITY comes under the FREEDOM OF RELIGION First Amendment Freedom.
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: The Declaration of Independence is our founding principle to which all people must adhere or change with two-thirds of the states ratifying. This is Important because the atheists are telling us to go find two-thirds of the states to reratify the laws already in place such as the right to LIFE and that all men are created EQUAL. Founded on “Divine Providence” our country continues its being through virtue. Virtue is America’s lifeline. What Pascal said is happening right now, without Christ. Let me continue this. I am late for Mass.

  • Mary,

    The Declaration of Independence has NO legal standing whatsoever. Wile I agree that it contains the founding principles of the nation, and that this makes it in many respects as important if not MORE important than the Constitution, it is not itself law. It is not subject to any vote.

  • Michael,

    “It is the failure to keep this truth before our minds and the acceptance of a compromise that proposed a government founded on merely natural principles and, guided by human reason, pursuing merely natural ends that has brought us to this pass.”

    What failure? It was never done to begin with. This country was founded by Freemasons.

    “We” really had no role in this. It is the society that was given to us. And so to some extent we have to operate within its framework.

  • Beauchamps

    “What failure? It was never done to begin with. This country was founded by Freemasons.

    “We” really had no role in this. It is the society that was given to us. And so to some extent we have to operate within its framework.”

    It is one thing to accept the inevitable and to operate with the institutions one has, as Leo XIII exhorted French Catholics to do, when he called on them to “rally to the Republic,” explaining that a distinction must be drawn between the form of government, which ought to be accepted, and its laws which ought to be improved. It is another to treat the state’s rejection of “traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,” as Dignitatis Humanae puts it as somehow good or desirable in itself, as so many Catholics have done, and not only those on the Left.

  • “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”: Caesar belongs to God. Constituted through the sovereign personhood and unalienable rights of each and every created equal, endowed citizen, government is under God, born of the free will endowed by our Creator, Divine Justice, authentic authority, and humble service. Government does not create life, nor personhood, nor man. Government gives citizenship. Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, is perfect Charity. Jesus Christ as man loves. Jesus Christ as God is LOVE. The virtue of CHARITY as all virtues and vices is practiced through the consent and free will of the person. The virtue of charity is voluntary, that is, practiced through the free will and consent of man. Levying taxes to effect the virtue of charity without the free will and consent of the tax payers is extortion. The will of God expressed through the voice of the people is the duty of government. Obamacare, in the practice of the vices of abortion, contraception and euthanasia, violates the will of God, our Creator. Obamacare, in levying taxes without the will and consent of the people is extortion. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us and Christ took His life up again. In Christ, man has eternal life. Embraced, Jesus Christ is FREEDOM.
    In 2013, in Maryland, gay marriage becomes law. Who told governor O’Malley to deny the rational, immortal souls of the participants, of his constituents and of God? It was not God Who told O’Malley. God said: “Thou shall not lay with a man as with a woman” (biblical note to follow) God has become HATE SPEECH. For the common good? for our own good? REALLY? Government of the people, for the people and by the people has perished from the face of the earth.

  • Bonchamps: The Declaration of Independence was ratified by every state before the War for Independence. That makes the Declaration of Independence law. The Declaration of Indpendence was never nulled and void, or abrogated or unratified. In fact, the U.S. Constitution begins by saying: “in the twelveth year of our Independence…” sure sounds to me like the Founding Fathers built our country, our freedom and our independence on the Declaration of Independence as the absolute minimum. Please show me where our Independence as inscribed in our Declaration of Indpendence is proscribed and do not go with unjust law.

  • Bonchamps: Every man woman and child, there were three generations who fought for independence, who fought and died, died in vain, for a founding principle that no longer exists? The Declaration of Independence gave birth to America, July 4th 1776. The Statue of Liberty holds that Declaration in her left hand. The U.S. Constitution defines the government, not the nation. There would be no United States of America nation if the Declaration were not ratified (ratification is a vote by the people). July 4th is our nation, the United States of America’s birthday, unrepealed and unrepentant. The Declaration of Independence is our people. The U.S. Constitution is our government. Where were you when Obama, as sitting president, and on video, no less than three times, recited the Declaration of Independence omitting “our Creator”, as the endower of our omitted and neglected “unalienable rights” Oh, yes, The Declaration of Independence is very much alive and well, except in Obama’s regime.

  • WK Aiken: Headache. “WE”, the people and “WE” hold these truths to be self evident are the same “WE”. Government by the people prevails over government by the government. Put the Declaration of Independence on the ballot since Bonchamps thinks that it is not a law.

  • Mary,

    You are causing me a headache too.

    You’re entitled to your own opinion. You aren’t entitled to your own facts. The Declaration of Independence is very important philosophically. I think it should inform the laws of the nation. But it is not a legal document and it has no legal standing. That’s not my opinion, that’s not my preference, its just a fact.

    Stop arguing with me as if I am saying the Declaration is bad or something. Stop arguing like a nutjob. I love the Declaration of Independence. I think it is one of the most important documents in history. But I also recognize facts, truth, reality, etc. You should too.

  • ” It is another to treat the state’s rejection of “traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,” as Dignitatis Humanae puts it as somehow good or desirable in itself, as so many Catholics have done, and not only those on the Left.”

    Who did this? I guess that’s where I’m confused. Are you saying I did this?

    Personally, I think Dignitatis Humanae implies that the Church once engaged in systematic violations of “human rights”. There were Church councils that called for all Christian princes to suppress public Islamic worship on the sole grounds that it was offensive to God (not to preserve public order or anything like that).

    One of the reasons I am a “traditionalist” (I really dislike that term, btw) is that I don’t believe that yesterday’s moral “rights” can become today’s intrinsic wrongs, nor do I believe that new human rights can come into existence because popular opinion on various topics has changed.

    So you get no argument from me on this point. Leo XIII’s position in Libertas was more than sufficient – there was no need for DH. None at all. We tolerate certain evils for the sake of the public good. This is how we talk about and address the modern world, which imposes evil on us. But we don’t call good evil, or evil good.

  • Bonchamps

    “There were Church councils that called for all Christian princes to suppress public Islamic worship on the sole grounds that it was offensive to God (not to preserve public order or anything like that).”

    Dignitatis excludes coercion in matters of religion by the civil power, “dummodo iustus ordo publicus servetur” [Provided the just demands of public order are observed]

    “Public order” is a technical term in the Civilian or Roman Law tradition and is much wider than “keeping the peace” ; its nearest English equivalent is “public policy,” or “in the public interest.” Thus, the provision in the Code Civil on Respect for the Human Body, which declares (inter alia) that the human body, its parts and products cannot be the object of ownership – “Les dispositions du présent chapitre sont d’ordre public,” literally “The dispositions of the present chapter pertain to public order” appears in the official English translation (on the Legifrance website) as, “These provisions are mandatory.”

    National security, public safety, the economic well-being of the country, the prevention of disorder or crime and the protection of health or morals all fall within the concept of “ordo publicus” and are regularly so described in legislation.

  • Michael…

    “Dignitatis excludes coercion in matters of religion by the civil power”

    I think that was my whole point. The Church used to insist upon just that kind of coercion. And I don’t have a problem with it. It wasn’t a sin that we had to atone for. It wasn’t a mistake that had to be corrected. It was a policy that simply no longer needed to be applied.

    As for the rest… ok? I mean, is there a point in there somewhere? That’s related to anything I said? Are we having a discussion or are you just talking with yourself?

    I’m seriously asking.

  • Without the Declaration of Independence there would be no “Law of the Land”. There is no either, or, but both. Clarification: The Declaration of Independence is our founding principle without which no one can be or become a citizen. The atheist says there is no God. God is existence. The atheist would annihilate himself if that were true, but the atheist needs God to annihilate himself.
    Jurisdiction over the newly begotten sovereign soul in the womb belongs to our founding principle: The Declaration of Independence. Jurisdiction over sovereign souls who are given birth belongs to the United States Constitution as the Law of the Land. The U.S. Constitution as the Law of the Land has no jurisdiction over the newly begotten soul in the womb, neither through abortion nor taxation, except to enforce our founding principles: that all men are created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. The right to privacy inheres in the Declaration of Independence, all or nothing at all. This is borne out in foreign individuals who come to America as diplomats, have diplomatic immunity, therefore, cannot be tried under the Law of the Land. Foreign criminals too, must be sent back. Only for laying in wait and killing a man (capital one premeditated homicide) must a man be put to death. Being unwanted is not a crime for execution, especially after being invited by the parents. (We are not Vlad the Impaler.) These persons must be treated with all courtesy through good will and good will is expected of them but they are not citizens. When the sovereign person enters the world through birth the United States acknowledges him with citizenship and he must keep the Law of the Land, according the our founding principle: The Declaration of Independence. Without The Declaration of Independence, our Constitution becomes whatever anybody says it is, subjective interpretation without any sovereign authority, except that which comes from the interpreter. The sovereign person in the womb who is about to be aborted is denied and cannot constitute our sovereign nation. It is the will of our Creator that any and all persons be created. The Declaration of Independence establishes our nation and the Law of the Land, that is why The Declaration of Independence is called our founding principle. Perhaps it is time to try the Declaration of Independence in court under the Law of the Land.

  • Bonchamps says:
    The Declaration of Independence has NO legal standing whatsoever. Wile I agree that it contains the founding principles of the nation, and that this makes it in many respects as important if not MORE important than the Constitution, it is not itself law. It is not subject to any vote.
    Bonchamps: I beg to differ with you and your interpretation of our founding principles.
    The Declaration of Independence, “We, hold these truths to be self-evident” defines a sovereign person as created equal and endowed with unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, an individual member of the species, Homo Sapiens, and as belonging to humanity as a human being composed of human body and metaphysical, rational, immortal soul. The Declaration of Independence secures the individual human being’s place among the nations of the world. The Declaration of Independence ought to be the marching orders for the United Nations. Alas and alack it is not.
    The Constitution for the United States of America defines the American citizen’s rights and privileges under the Supreme Law of the Land. These rights are inscribed in the Preamble: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Aborting our constitutional Posterity is not in the Law of the Land. Redefining the human person as having no soul to legalize abortion, or same sex union, or chattel of the state, is impossible and counter to constitutional law. Redefining the existence of God and the Supreme Sovereign Being as a servant of the people is neither constitutional nor predicated on Justice and independence. Disenfranchising the parishioners of the Catholic church of their right to engage in ministry, according to their rational conscience removes the path for any and all people, especially atheists to find a way into religion, (an individual’s personal and free will response to the gift of Faith from God), and the exercise of rational thought as expression of the rational soul and the freedom of suffrage, the vote. “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” There is no separation of the freedom of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. It is only when peoples start redefining the reality of our Creator and His persons, that men and government lose their meaning. As an aside: When in Roe v. Wade the woman wanted to kill her child, the child became a ward of the court, a ward of the court, the court allowed to be killed.

  • Mary,

    ” I beg to differ with you and your interpretation of our founding principles.”

    I have no different interpretation of our founding principles. This is why your comments are just disturbing to me. I am simply saying that the Declaration of Independence is not a legally-binding document. Show me the court case in which it has ever been invoked as such.

    The most important parts of the Declaration are summarized in the Bill of Rights. The protection of life, liberty and property is in the 5th amendment. The protection of our political rights in the 1st amendment. The protection of our legitimate privacy is in the 4th amendment (not the 9th amendment, as the Blackmum court fantasized). The right of people to determine their own destiny apart from a controlling centralized government is found in the 10th amendment.

    But the plain fact is that the Constitution is not a prefect document. That’s why I like anti-Federalists such as Robert Yeats. It was well understood by him and others that the Constitution may well provide us with a tyranny instead of freedom. And absolutely no one thought that the mere existence of the Declaration of Independence provided any sort of institutional guarantee that this wouldn’t happen. It has certainly INSPIRED people to challenge unjust laws, but it has never been cited in any court case I know of as a legal justification for overturning them. Show me where it has been.

  • And again, I am aware that its principles have often been cited. But never as “the letter of the law” – more like the “spirit.” And I would agree: the Declaration is like the soul to the body of the Constitution. But they aren’t identical in form or function.

    And bodies decay.

  • and in a very small voice, I say that the Person of God is the Person for Whom the Constitution was written.

  • “…and in a very small voice, I say that the Person of God is the Person for Whom the Constitution was written.”

    I don’t think the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence for that matter were written “for” God. But certainly their foundation and basis is God.

  • Paul W. Primavera: The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were framed for the PERSON. Jesus Christ is both a human and a Divine PERSON. Pope John Paul II said that when one person’s rights are denied, all persons’ rights are denied. The Person of Jesus Christ is a citizen of the world, the Sovereign King. The Person of Jesus Christ is denied acknowledgement in the public square. This is contrary to all men being created equal. Christ in His human nature is a man with equal civil rights. As you know Jesus, in His human nature, life was taken from Him, His liberty was denied to Him, and of course He is being even now, forbidden to pursue His Happiness. This happens when Jesus’ name is forbidden in public. The Person of Jesus Christ had to be banned before God’s children could be murdered in the womb. It is the sovereign personhood of the newly begotten human being who’s soul is being torn from his body in abortion. We are all one in the mystical Body of Christ. If some in public office do not respect the PERSON of Jesus Christ, how can they respect any of us or themselves? The PERSON is WHO we are at our core. THE PERSON IS IMMUTABLE. The PERSON is a PERSON, is a PERSON ALWAYS.(from the work of Rev. James Lentini) The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are ratified for the PERSON, by the PERSON and through the PERSON. Thank you Paul W. Primavera for corresponding. I am learning the Ave Maria in Greek. WOW. I have tried Bonchamps patience, brother McClarey’s kindness and very much enjoy your friendship. One Hail Mary
    Av? Mar?a, gr?ti? pl?na,
    Dominus t?cum.
    Benedicta t? in mulieribus,
    et benedictus fr?ctus ventris tu?, I?sus.
    S?ncta Mar?a, M?ter De?,
    ?r? pr? n?b?s pecc?t?ribus,
    nunc et in h?r? mortis nostrae.
    ?m?n.
    Hail Mary, full of grace,
    the Lord is with thee;
    blessed art thou amongst women,
    and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    pray for us sinners,
    now and at the hour of our death.
    Amen.
    And for good measure, the ancient Greek version as well (which reads a little differently) (hope the Greek letters come out OK):
    ??????? ???????, ?????, ???????????? ?????,
    ? ?????? ???? ???. ?????????? ?? ?? ???????,
    ??? ??????????? ? ?????? ??? ??????? ???,
    ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ????.

  • Paul W Primavera says:
    “…and in a very small voice, I say that the Person of God is the Person for Whom the Constitution was written.”

    “I don’t think the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence for that matter were written “for” God. But certainly their foundation and basis is God.”
    The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were written for “THE PERSON OF GOD”, and “with” God, July 4th in the year of Our Lord, 1776.
    One nation under God means that the judges of the Supreme Court for the United States of America recognize and acknowledge that they are the personification of almighty God’s absolute and merciful Justice when they are called upon to be JUSTICE. The executive executes the Supreme Law of the Land UNDER GOD through the JUSTICES, the personification of God’s Justice, and the souls of his constituents. The Congress of all men speaks the will of the people. Only TRUTH will be spoken, only TRUTH will be heard or the Congress of all men will have betrayed the nation and committed perjury in the Court. This is possible, practical and privileged through the rational, immortal soul of each and every person, to be represented; his constituency to be acknowledged and to be accorded the endowed unalienable rights of the children of God, by the children of men.
    The atheist, secular humanist, heretic, fallen away from God repudiates his own human soul as having perfection in almighty God, and renders unto Caesar imperfection and more imperfection, denying the newly conceived (constitutional) posterity, created in original innocence, virginity and perfect charity, the only person deserving endowed, unalienable rights, the truth about their sovereign personhood, their constituency in establishing one nation UNDER GOD, and their adoption into the family of God.

The Welfare State, Saint Paul and Pope Leo XIII

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

Charles Sykes, of the Wisconsin Policy Institute, has a superb article on the Entitlement Mentality which is sinking the country:

The cultural shift has become so pronounced today that even some progressives are showing signs of unease. Were it not for her impeccable ideological pedigree, Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, might have irreparably damaged her standing with her mother’s friends when she produced a brief video for HBO about her recent encounters outside a New York welfare office. In the Pelosi video, a man waiting in line is drinking beer and smoking cigarettes as he admits that he’s fathered five children by four different mothers. “I’m here to get a check … whatever they’ve got to offer,” he explains. “It’s not like they’ve got a checklist … I’m just here to get what I can get.”

Of course he was. 

In the video, Alexandra Pelosi quizzes one man: “Why should I help you? Why should my tax dollars be going to you?” He replies, “Because my ancestors came here to help build this place – my ancestors, the slaves.” The last time the man worked, he says, was “half a decade” ago.

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52 Responses to The Welfare State, Saint Paul and Pope Leo XIII

  • How dare you! Next you’ll want to take away their birth control.

  • a man waiting in line is drinking beer and smoking cigarettes as he admits that he’s fathered five children by four different mothers. “I’m here to get a check …

    And I will wager you he did not get squat.

    1. Even twenty years ago, general relief had been eliminated in all but nine states.

    2. “Temporary Aid to Needy Families”, the successor to the old “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” (colloquially ‘welfare’) is a mother-and-child program for which this man does not qualify, can be drawn on (with some qualifications) for no more than five years of a mother’s lifetime, and supports a beneficiary population one-third the size of its predecessor program.

    3. Unemployment compensation requires minimum antecedent contributions, has circumstantial eligibility requirements, and is term-limited.

    4. Supplemental Security Income is limited to the old, the disabled, and the addled.

    5. Social Security disability has stiff circumstantial eligibility requirements, requires a minimum of antecedent contributions, is earnings related, and incorporates periodic eligibility reviews.

    6. Social Security old age and retirement requires a minimum of antecedent contributions, is earnings related, and is limited to…the old.

    The programs for which this man might qualify would be in-kind: medical insurance, food stamps, housing vouchers or berths, public defenders’ services. The children he has sired indubitably attended the public schools (like those of more than 90% of the population).

    However, we now have produced huge numbers of drones in our society who simply feed off the work of others, with no thought of ever earning their own bread by the sweat of their brow.

    I do not wish to offer a defense of the panoply of subventions to mundane expenditure that welfare departments and housing authorities offer at all levels, nor for long-term doles, but it is quite atypical in our society to be comprehensively dependent (rather than depending on supplemental subsidies) for any length of time if one is not old or disabled or a ward of the courts. TANF clientele currently number about 4 million, or about 1.3% of the population.

  • This article by Theodore Dalrymple about Scotland sheds more light on what happens when countries foster a culture of dependence.

  • Ok these are some of the dregs of society. I have been unemployed for a while and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to work. Please don’t lump me in with these people. Also there are plenty of white people that are like this too. I do not take or look for handouts even in my present situation, if I can avoid it. We do have to remember that this economic situation is pretty bad and there should be more concern for those that DO want to work like training, etc…

  • Michael, read the article. It is not talking about legitimate assistance. It’s talking about the burgeoning entitlement mentality.

    As the article states…
    The process can be illustrated this way: “I want you to buy me lunch. Therefore, I need lunch. And if I need something, I have a right to it – and you, therefore, have an obligation to pay for it.”

    The equation looks like this: Wants = needs = rights = obligations.

    And is illustrated by this…
    While GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was campaigning last week in Peoria, Illinois, a young woman was caught on camera declaring: “So you’re all for like, ‘yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff. And ‘yay, like pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

  • This article by Theodore Dalrymple about Scotland sheds more light on what happens when countries foster a culture of dependence.

    I respect his writings generally, but it is poor judgment of him to cite the econometricians at The Spectator (a breezy opinion magazine). In a population of nearly 8 million, it is not credible that there are only 15,000 net taxpayers.

  • It’s talking about the burgeoning entitlement mentality.

    There are disagreeable aspects of culture and society in the slums, but these began to appear (per Daniel Patrick Moynihan) around about 1958 and had reached full flower by 1972 or thereabouts. Given that the TANF rolls are 1/3 as long as the AFDC rolls, why would we say this mentality is burgeoning?

  • The entitlement mentality is not a “in the slums” problem. It is spreading to the middle class and in some cases, beyond. It infects all classes and races.

    The FT article gives concrete examples…
    The laundry list goes far beyond free lunch to include free health care, free cell phones, free birth control, free mortgage bailouts – and on and on.

    There are more avenues to government money than just TANF. No one is against legitimate assistance. Exploitation or a sense entitlement to assistance programs is a problem.

  • “Ok these are some of the dregs of society. I have been unemployed for a while and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to work. Please don’t lump me in with these people.”

    I certainly never would Michael and I hope you are able to find work soon.

  • The entitlement mentality is not a “in the slums” problem. It is spreading to the middle class and in some cases, beyond. It infects all classes and races.

    Beyond? You mean there are patricians who are asserting their right to grocery subsidies? Between the slums and the bourgeoisie there is the wage-earning element. To what do you fancy they feel entitled?

    —-

    There are more avenues to government money than just TANF. No one is against legitimate assistance. Exploitation or a sense entitlement to assistance programs is a problem.

    Have you in your own mind a set of understandings as to what constitutes ‘legitimate assistance’ and what is the nasty ‘welfare state’? Can you let us in on it?

  • Art, Between the FT article and Don’s article, you have all the information you need. The answers you seek are in both if you read them carefully.

  • Art, Between the FT article and Don’s article, you have all the information you need. The answers you seek are in both if you read them carefully.

    They are not.

  • How about the following:
    One (net) taxpayer, one vote?

  • Michael Medved makes a compelling point on this, with school lunch programs (which sometimes include breakfast, dinner, summer meals, etc.). These are justified as necessary because parents may not have the time or money to make sure their children have proper meals.
    Medved’s concern is : If parents are no longer responsible for feeding their own children, what responsibilities remain?

  • You mean there are patricians who are asserting their right to grocery subsidies?

    You didn’t hear about the lottery winner that’s on food stamps, or the woman up here in the Seattle area that was getting food stamps at her beach-side big bucks home?

    Incidentally, food stamps (or rather the SNAP cards, these days) are as good as cash; you just sell them for a portion of the face value. If you’ve got an “in” with a store that can take them, you can probably get better than the going rate. (I think the crag’s list average was about 1/4 of the value in cash?)

  • Also, on the rich-people-getting-entitlements, talk to the spoiled brats I went to school with who got new cars at 16 but are still horrified the state ALMOST took their free birth control away while they were at college.

  • If the black market requires a 75% discount, the SNAP cards are not as good as cash.

    The woman in Michigan was cut off by the Food and Nutrition Service because she had failed, per their rules, to notify them of any income or asset changes. Lottery winners do not qualify as patricians.

    There are several problems here:

    1. You are all speaking of an extant problem that was manifest 40 years ago as if it were novel or spreading like kudzu, even as public policy is less accommodating than it was a generation ago. (For example, general relief still exists in New York, so the man just might get his check, but there is a life time limit of two years’ worth of benefits).

    2. While there is much here that I would not wish to defend and small programs can sustain some quite disagreeable tendencies in the culture, the sort of programs under review are just a few tiles in the mosaic of our political and economic problems manifest in public sector borrowing. The big ticket federal programs are as follows:

    a. Social Security (>$800 bn)
    b. Medicare (>$500 bn)
    c. Food Stamps ($89 bn)
    d. Higher education subsidies ($46 bn)
    e. Housing vouchers ($27 bn)

    The state and local programs (partially financed by the central government) which are most salient are as follows:

    a. Public schools (~$650 bn)
    b. Medicaid (~$470 bn)
    c. Unemployment compensation (> $90 bn)

    I think the TANF program clocks in there at about $30 bn.

    If I am not mistaken about 90% of all Social Security benefits go to the old or disabled (with the remainder to widows &c.). About a third of Medicaid expenditure is for the care of nursing home residents. Therefore, about 60% of the expenditure noted above is on geezers and cripples. Shy of 30% is allocated to the public schools, a purely universalistic program. About 4% is allocated to unemployment compensation, which is short term. The remaining 6% may be socially unsalutary, but it is a small part of why we are careering into bankruptcy.

  • Ach. I cannot do arithmetic anymore.

    Crippled and elderly: 51%
    Public schools: 24%
    s/t 3%
    miscellaneous 22%

  • He is still getting the stamps. Turns out he did follow the law, technically. They’re trying to fix that.

    About the disabled you mention that are on SS….

    In the fiscal year that ended in September, the administrative law judge, who sits in the impoverished intersection of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, decided 1,284 cases and awarded benefits in all but four. For the first six months of fiscal 2011, Mr. Daugherty approved payments in every one of his 729 decisions, according to the Social Security Administration.

  • Disability programs are difficult to administer precisely and consistently and some of the hearing examiners are doing a poor job of it (which you can surmise by comparing their decisions to those of other hearing examiners). Ergo, you trash the whole program. Do I have your viewpoint correctly stated?

  • 13.6 million receiving disability benefits and rising rapidly Art:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/21/disability-claims-rise-threatens-solvency/

    From my expience as a bankruptcy attorney, quite a few people receiving disability benefits are not disabled in that they have no physical or mental impairments that really prevent them from working.

  • Of course you don’t, and you didn’t even try. Sort of like your notion that because they don’t sell for the price on the card, a guaranteed income is somehow not as good as cash.

    From those two points, it’s pretty clear you’re not willing to actually discuss the issue without making silly assumptions and taking a running jump to insulting conclusions. I don’t have the time for that.

  • Foxfier, I cannot figure what the referent to your response is.

    13.6 million receiving disability benefits and rising rapidly Art:

    That is 60% higher than the last figure I saw in print. I do not have time to research matters right at this moment, but I am at this moment skeptical.

    By the way, if I understand correctly, most who receive Social Security Disability are recipients for a discrete run of years (5 or 6) because they age out of the program or return to work.

    From my expience as a bankruptcy attorney, quite a few people receiving disability benefits are not disabled in that they have no physical or mental impairments that really prevent them from working.

    I have known only a small corps of people who receive benefits. One was a 44 year old woman with Crohn’s disease who had been collecting for four years. She was looking forward to returning to work after her next evaluation. One was a 59 year old woman with lupus who worked without interruption from 1958 to 1998. She aged out of the program. Another was a 49 year old pharmacist with a ghastly injury to his leg which made it impossible for him to stand for long periods of time. I think he could have retooled. I lost track of him.

    I do not doubt you can find people who would not meet the criteria legislators had in mind and a few out-and-out chiselers. Again, what would be your solution?

  • http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/OASDIbenies.html

    This would indicate that the Social Security Disability program supports 10.6 million people. That would be the sum of beneficiaries and their dependents. They receive a mean of $13,000 per capita.

  • A report from the CBO on social security disability in 2010:

    “Between 1970 and 2009, the number of people receiving DI benefits more than tripled, from 2.7 million to 9.7 million (unless otherwise specified, all years are calendar years). That jump, which significantly outpaced the increase in the working-age population during that period, is attributable to several changesin characteristics of that population, in federal policy, and in opportunities for employment. In addition, during those years, the average inflation-adjusted cost per person receiving DI benefits rose from about $6,900 to about $12,800 (in 2010 dollars). As a result, inflation-adjusted expenditures for the DI program, including administrative costs, increased nearly sevenfold between 1970 and 2009, climbing from $18 billion to $124 billion (in 2010 dollars). Most DI beneficiaries, after a two-year waiting period, are also eligible for Medicare; the cost of those benefits in fiscal year 2009 totaled about $70 billion.

    Under current law, the DI program is not financially sustainable. Its expenditures are drawn from the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which is financed primarily through a payroll tax of 1.8 percent; the fund had a balance of $204 billion at the end of 2009. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that by 2015, the number of people receiving DI benefits will increase to 11.4 million and total expenditures will climb to $147 billion (in 2010 dollars; see Figure 1). However, tax receipts credited to the DI trust fund will be about 20 percent less than those expenditures, and three years later, in 2018, the trust fund will be exhausted, according to CBOs estimates. Without legislative action to reduce the DI programs outlays, increase its dedicated federal revenues, or transfer other federal funds to it, the Social Security Administration will not have the legal authority to pay full DI benefits beyond that point.

    A number of changes could be implemented to address the trust funds projected exhaustion. Some would increase revenues dedicated to the program; others would reduce outlays. One approach to reducing expenditures on DI benefits would be to establish policies that would make work a more viable option for people with disabilities. However, little evidence is available on the effectiveness of such policies, and their costs might more than offset any savings from reductions in DI benefits.”

    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/21638

  • “One (net) taxpayer, one vote?”

    I kinda see your point, but before you go that route, consider the full implications. If you are implying that people who receive more in money or other benefits from the government than they pay in taxes are all mere freeloaders who should not be allowed to vote, then very few people (perhaps not even including yourself) will be allowed to vote.

    For one thing, the 53% (or whatever the current figure is) of Americans who end each year with a federal tax liability of less than zero (often due to refundable child, education, and home ownership tax credits that target the middle class) would be disenfranchised, as would anyone employed by any branch of federal, state or local government. Not to mention business owners who receive government subsidies, credits or tax breaks for various reasons.

    My point is NOT to defend the kind of welfare or entitlement mentality on display in the video, but to point out that they are not the only people getting more in benefits than they are paying in. They are simply the most obvious ones; there are other forms of “entitlement mentality” among the middle class and wealthy that are less obvious.

    It should also be noted that just because someone does not have a federal tax liability for a given year does NOT mean they pay no taxes at all. They may still owe state or local income taxes, or property taxes; and they probably pay sales or use taxes on most of what they purchase.

  • For one thing, the 53% (or whatever the current figure is) of Americans who end each year with a federal tax liability of less than zero (often due to refundable child, education, and home ownership tax credits that target the middle class) would be disenfranchised, as would anyone employed by any branch of federal, state or local government.

    Now, hold on, that second one doesn’t follow– for that matter, the first isn’t needfully so, either.

    Last things first, those who are employed by the government at any level do still pay taxes, and there is no need to lump them in just to inflate the number. They do a job, they are paid for it. If there is a lot of quality control that needs to be done, that’s a separate issue, but they are NOT equivalent to someone that is dependent on public charity. That sort of reasoning is part of why we’re in this mess. Likewise, businesses and families that are “allowed” to keep more of their money, so long as they don’t end up “keeping” more than they had in the first place, are net tax payers as well. (It seems you slipped between being a net tax payer and being paid from taxed funds at all.) That would knock out any tax breaks from consideration.

    There is NOTHING WRONG with the government taxing the population and using that money to hire people and buy stuff– there’s not a lot of other reason for the government to tax at all.

    There is NOTHING WRONG (inherently) with keeping more of the money that YOU earned. It is yours, not the government’s. The problem comes in the matter of fairness, which is sorely lacking. (17% of the income pays 35% of the taxes? Not fair at all.)

    I hate to beat this to death, but it really has to be pointed out: tax breaks are NOT the government giving you anything, it’s just not taking things, and WORKING for the government is not the same as HANDOUTS.

    Jumping back to the first claim, it makes the classic assumption that people won’t change their actions. (It’s even built into our gov’t budgeting estimates. Fails constantly, too.) Sadly, a large part of the country that’s currently not paying net federal taxes wouldn’t give a crud about losing their vote if it meant that they got free stuff. Other folks would not claim things like the child credit to make sure that they could still vote.

    A much better route of objection to the “one net taxpayer, one vote” idea is that it would disenfranchise those who are not paid for their work, especially retired folks who had money taken from them for their entire lives, shoved in the leaky box that is social security, and are now dependent on getting some fraction of that money back. It would disenfranchise stay-at-home parents, business folks who ran a loss year, adults still in school if they manage it without a job, those on unemployment (which is supposed to be money they would have been paid which was taken by the gov’t to hold in reserve in case they couldn’t get a new job.) and those who in other manners didn’t have an income.

  • I have to say, anecdotally, I grew up in – and live – in a county, where the people who are in line in this video make up a large part of my friends and neighbors, and they do get a lot of free stuff from the government. People who say that entitlement abuse is improving or is no longer a very great concern probably know very few people who abuse entitlement programs.

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  • Good point, Ike– I think there’s a big social level thing here, too. The ranch was one of the go-to places for people who wanted to work just long enough to get unemployment insurance; one couple would gladly teach you exactly what you had to do to do the absolute minimum while maximizing your income and comfort. Step one, don’t marry, just live together….
    (Folks talked the owner out of hiring such when one tried to file a worker’s comp for a problem she’d had before she drove truck for us.)

  • People who say that entitlement abuse is improving or is no longer a very great concern probably know very few people who abuse entitlement programs.

    No matter whom I know or do not know, the quantum of goods, services, and funds distributed is a matter of public record, as are the eligibility requirements of various programs.

  • Art-
    that says nothing about abuse of the programs, and you did bring up people you know who use the programs.

    As Donald showed when you didn’t have time to research, the payouts from social security for disability have gone through the roof. Medicaid is well known as a target for fraud. Medicare, likewise. Food stamps are a big target.

    A search for entitlement abuse brings up a lot of articles like this– by the way, the “adult baby” wood worker was found to be totally fine and cleared of fraud.

  • As Donald showed when you didn’t have time to research,

    He cited the executive summary of a report by the Congressional Budget Office. I cited the case statistics published by the Social Security Administration.

    and you did bring up people you know who use the programs.

    Parenthetically, in response to his claims about his clients.

    There is a problem with the disability program, as can be seen in the evolution of the beneficiary population. I would be very skeptical that malingering is an important part of the problem; musculoskelital problems are at the root of 36% of awarded claims, not more. Policy is a problem (for 11% of those who receive awards, the primary diagnosis is a psychiatric mood disorder). The evolution of how people respond to a given set of conditions is a problem. The expectations set by authority are a problem. Consistency in administration over space and time is a problem.

    Given the change in the population (between 1966 and 2007) of workers in the salient cohorts, you might have expected a 2.25-fold increase in the population of primary beneficiaries. You actually saw a 6-fold increase. Was the program underutilized before or overutilized now? Interestingly, the number of juvenile dependents of said beneficiaries increased just in step with the change in the whole population and the number of spousal dependents declined. What hypotheses would you tease-out of that?

    I am fairly sure that eliminating the program is a cure worse than the disease. I might also suggest that a dependent population which consists largely of adults in the latter part of middle age, more-often-than-not having a work history of twenty-five years or more, and living alone in spite of documented medical problems, suggests a particular nexus of social problems. One which consists of young and able-bodied women (with little or no work history) and their bastard children suggests a different set of problems.

  • He cited the executive summary of a report by the Congressional Budget Office. I cited the case statistics published by the Social Security Administration.

    Your point being? Do you think they are wrong, as you implied before he did so?

    I am fairly sure that eliminating the program is a cure worse than the disease.

    Why do you keep acting like this is being discussed? You jump from fraud not being a big problem to a large glob of digression to no specific point and then go back to acting like people are saying “screw it, nuke the whole thing!”– this, in spite if the original post SPECIFICALLY SAYING: “Any decent society able to will want to lend a hand to help those who cannot help themselves: those who through physical and mental disability simply cannot work to support themselves.

    Will you stop charging at strawmen and try to actually engage on the topic?

  • There are no strawmen here. You keep offering anecdotes of the system functioning poorly and he cited a summary document indicating the program was actuarially unsound. That would indicate that the program required restructuring. Neither of you offer anything but non-specific complaints that the gubmint is being incompetent. That kind of talk gets old. If you have an idea of how to improve the program, let’s hear it.

    All of that is rather at a remove from his initial complaint, which was that our world is awash in a burgeoning population of free-loaders. The opportunities for that sort of thing among the able-bodied are not what they were 40 years ago and the sort of welfare rights discourse you used to hear even 25 years ago has largely disappeared. As for the statutorily disabled, many of them ought to be doing something else, but a 54 year old divorcee with a heart condition who had twenty-five years on construction sites is not quite what you have in mind when you hear phrases like, “However, we now have produced huge numbers of able bodied drones in our society who simply feed off the work of others”.

    And any solution you all offer needs to be scalable.

  • There are no strawmen here.

    Show where I, or Donald, said a single thing about ENDING welfare. That is the strawman you have been fighting– not fixing the problem, not trying to cut down on fraud, but ENDING THE PROGRAMS.

    I’ll waste the time correcting your other unsupported claims when you bother to support that one.

  • “All of that is rather at a remove from his initial complaint, which was that our world is awash in a burgeoning population of free-loaders.”

    As is demonstrated Art by the explosion of people getting on disability, which is why I cited the CBO report. This was over a time period, 1970-2009, when fewer and fewer of the work force are engaging in the hard type of physical labor and resulting injuries that the disability program was originally set up to alleviate.

    We also see this in the explosion in the food stamp program which, as Foxfier noted earlier in the thread, are frequently used as a substitute currency.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/11/food-stamp-nation.php

  • “As Maine goes so goes the nation.”

    December 2011: Maine Republican (!) Governor LePage stated in a radio address that his state has more residents receiving “welfare” than paying state income taxes.

    Nationally, 53% of households pay Federal income taxes.

    The laws of arithmetic will resolve the imbalance. The restoration of equilibrium will not be pretty. See Greece.

    PS: As of tomorrow, the US has the highest corporate tax rate on the planet.

  • As is demonstrated Art by the explosion of people getting on disability, which is why I cited the CBO report. This was over a time period, 1970-2009, when fewer and fewer of the work force are engaging in the hard type of physical labor and resulting injuries that the disability program was originally set up to alleviate.

    You need to do better than a cursory inspection of descriptive statistics in order to ascertain what is going on there. (And no, I do not think you are going to discover in the legislative history that work-related injuries were the sole or even primary consideration in enacting the program). The descriptive statistics are hypothesis formers. Your conclusion about this particular beneficiary population was antecedent to adducing any real evidence. If you want to restructure the program, you have to ascertain what the drivers are of changes in observable behavior. Some things to consider:

    1. The contemporary beneficiary is not any older than their counterparts forty years ago, nor much younger. Why do they have so few dependents? The ratio of dependents to primary beneficiaries has fallen by 75%.

    2. Is it possible that changes in public health have augmented a ‘gray zone’ population that was proportionately much smaller in 1970? Are there people drawing benefits who would have been in institutional care in 1970 or would have been deceased?

    3. How much of the inclination to apply for benefits and to grant them (and, keep in mind, 61% of those who apply are turned down) is motivated not by the cash pension but by the medical insurance appended to it?

    Foxfier, you and Donald have not offered the slightest suggestion about how one might restructure the disability program. All you’ve done is bitch about the hearing examiners and the clientele. What’s wrong with this population and what alternatives might there be for them? It just does not do to say they are free-loaders awarded benefits by incompetents, no further investigation needed.

    T. Shaw:

    A possibility to investigate: are state income taxes in Maine a levy not meant for anyone but a fairly affluent population? That was initially the case with the federal income tax.

  • PS: As of tomorrow, the US has the highest corporate tax rate on the planet.

    Doubt it. The last time I checked, about 9% of corporate profits were collected in federal tax levies. We have payroll taxes (amounting all told to 10% of labor income). What we do not have is a national value added tax, which casts a much wider net. Rates in the EU range from 15% to 27%.

  • “You need to do better than a cursory inspection of descriptive statistics in order to ascertain what is going on there.”

    Considering that disability awards are now based on mental problems, including depression, and alleged back problems, both of which are difficult to disprove, I think it is clear what is going on here.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/13/AR2010091306493.html?sid=ST2010091401818

    Getting government handouts has almost no stigma, and more people are holding their hands out for freebies from Uncle Sucker. I see this all the time in my practice Art; this is no deep, dark secret.

    “(And no, I do not think you are going to discover in the legislative history that work-related injuries were the sole or even primary consideration in enacting the program).”

    You would be wrong about that Art. What the program was initially was supposed to be for was clear from the fact that permanent disability benefits were normally contingent on the loss of a limb.

  • “Foxfier, you and Donald have not offered the slightest suggestion about how one might restructure the disability program.”

    Make all benefit awards reviewable each year and actually conduct the reviews. Replace the current hearing officers and administrative law judges hearing disability cases. Narrow eligibility to those who are truly unable to work. (Depression would not be on the list, along with a host of other dodges currently used to scam benefits.) Give bonuses to government investigators who ferret out people who are receiving benefits and also working. It would be difficult to come up with a worse system than what we currently have.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/12/disability_fraud_saps_social_s.html

  • “I doubt it”

    “WASHINGTON, March 30, 2012 (Reuters) – The United States’ (39.2%) will hold the dubious distinction starting on Sunday of having the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate after Japan’s drops to 38.01 percent.”

    Art, I was prepared to provide facts and figures to defend my Maine comment.

    No matter how much liberals use them, the truth isn’t the result of a three card monty game flip or how well a demagogue can gull envious classes that believe it’s the government’s duty to provide for them.

    Soon enough, like Greece, Maine and Washington politicians will run out of other people’s money and then the “jig is up” – the laws of arithmetic are not subject to weeping, gnashing of teeth, or lying.

  • Art,

    Of course people with no income pay no income taxes: some receive tax credit payments.

    In Maine, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps and subsidies for education have a combined enrollment of 660,000. Adjusting the 660,000 for overlaps reduces the number to 453,194 – or 8,120 more people on state assistance than the 445,074 state income taxpayers in Maine.

    We shall see if Maine can be more suave at bankruptcy than Greece or Harrisburg, PA.

  • Foxfier, you and Donald have not offered the slightest suggestion about how one might restructure the disability program.

    Which does not justify your false accusation that we’re suggesting dumping the whole thing.

    The obvious conclusion to take from our “bitching” is to apply some common sense to the awarding of these benefits, as foreign a concept as that is in bureaucracies.

  • Considering that disability awards are now based on mental problems, including depression, and alleged back problems, both of which are difficult to disprove, I think it is clear what is going on here.

    About 23% are based on psychological problems, of which half are for ‘mood disorders’, as pointed out above. (The remainder are for schizophrenia, mental retardation, &c.)

    No, nothing is very clear.

  • The obvious conclusion to take from our “bitching” is to apply some common sense to the awarding of these benefits, as foreign a concept as that is in bureaucracies.

    The obvious conclusion is that getting this right and getting it consistently right is easier said than done.

  • You would be wrong about that Art. What the program was initially was supposed to be for was clear from the fact that permanent disability benefits were normally contingent on the loss of a limb.

    Where did you read that?

  • The obvious conclusion is that getting this right and getting it consistently right is easier said than done.

    And that justifies accusing those who dare point out there’s a problem of wanting to shut the whole thing down…how?

  • And that justifies accusing those who dare point out there’s a problem of wanting to shut the whole thing down…how?

    If you recall, I asked you if I had understood your position correctly, and your response was indignation. (And arguing about the argument we are having is not terribly productive).

    (And, by the way, such an interpretation would be a reasonable inference to be drawn of the moderator’s remarks).

    Since I have pointed out some of the discrete problems with the program, your complaint does not make much sense. What I have done is reject the frame you all have put around the problem.

  • If you recall, I asked you if I had understood your position correctly, and your response was indignation.

    Yes, I responded indignantly to you projecting a viewpoint that is ludicrous as a reasonable interpretation of pointing out valid problems.

    “Ugh. My car keeps pulling to the right, it’s clearly screwy.”
    “So, you want to blow it up, is that right?”
    “What the heck is wrong with you? How on earth is that a reasonable jump?”
    “Well, you didn’t say you wanted to mechanic on it.”

    And arguing about the argument we are having is not terribly productive

    It’s more productive than trying to have a conversation with someone who rejects offered data and mischaracterizes those he disagrees with into foolish strawmen.

  • To solve a problem, you have to decide that there is a problem, identify the problem, figure out possible causes, and then you start on solutions.

    *Video shows that there is some sort of problem.

    *Problem is initially identified as “Good people want to help those who can’t help themselves, but now we have a bunch of people helping themselves to the aid they don’t need.”
    **Problem is secondarily identified as the programs allowing obvious abuses–getting services while technically qualified (say, those in jail who get food stamps) or flat-out fraud, plus the stuff that’s murky. (“Emotional issues” disability.)

    There are some possible causes– the qualifications are off, the judge mentioned earlier that approves almost all the cases isn’t a good gatekeeper, etc.– but it’s not clear you agree there is a problem to solve.

A Case Can Be Made For Auschwitz!

Sunday, March 18, AD 2012

 

 

Michael Moriarty as SS Sturmbannfuhrer (Major) Erik Dorf, in the riveting miniseries Holocaust (1978), attempts at 5:26 in the video above to convince the incredulous SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler that rather than concealing the crimes of the Holocaust the SS should stand behind them and and convince the world that the genocide of the Jews and others deemed “undesirable” by the “master race” was right and just.  He anounces to the astounded SS officers, Dorff being an attorney in civilian life, that “A case can be made for Auschwitz!”  He is speaking to mass murderers and monsters, but even they are repulsed by what he says.  They understand deep down that they have been involved in an unspeakable crime for which no excuse, no argument can possibly be made.

Would that most pro-aborts would have some such shred of moral sensibility remaining.  Alas, I am afraid that this statement of Jessica Delbalzo is much more common among pro-aborts, even if they rarely are this forthright:

I love abortion.  I don’t accept it.  I don’t view it as a necessary evil.  I embrace it.  I donate to abortion funds.  I write about how important it is to make sure that every woman has access to safe, legal abortion services.  I have bumper stickers and buttons and t-shirts proclaiming my support for reproductive freedom.  I love abortion.

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57 Responses to A Case Can Be Made For Auschwitz!

  • “We hold these truth to be self-evidnent that all men are created equal” created, not born equal. To be pro-abortion is to be against the laws of nature and nature’s God. To be pro-abortion is to be against the will of God, To be pro-abortion is to be pro-atheism and against all that America stands for. This is why America won WWII. God was with us. And relying on Divine Providence, God is still with us.

  • Well they certainly are trying their hardest to make their case:

    http://goo.gl/ym7sB

    If society retains any moral outrage fanatical pro-aborts may just invoke it by pushing their godlessness too far.

  • I think two deficits in such persons’ consciences are humility and objective truth.

    Twenty-first century enablers of mass evil employ social justice as justification for all sin.

  • Another moral outrage report from Gateway Pundit:

    “Disgusting! Obama Administration Approves Using Aborted Fetal Brains in Lab Experimentation”

    It’s okay! Obama is Social Justice.

  • Another video could have made the point better. Moriarty’s words are a none too subtle smear job against Christianity and the West. I’d like to know which high churchmen called for a Judenrein Europe involving the mass destruction of Jews as opposed to their conversion. There is a class of propaganda inspired by Communists and their fellow travellers that persistently tries to involve the religion of Christianity and in particular the Catholic Church in the Nazi mass murder of Jews. This serves the double purpose of obscuring the heinous crimes of the Communists which over the years have swallowed more victims than the Nazis ever did. The Germans are an efficient and highly capable people; when led by an amoral technocratic elite it takes only a few men to organise the killings of vast numbers of victims.

  • I disagree Ivan. I think this is the perfect video for the point that I was making. Nothing of substance that Moriarty’s character says is meant to be taken seriously except as desperate attempts at self justification by a man lost in an abyss of evil that he has allowed his ambition to lead him into. Moriarty’s character is shown to be especially despicable in the miniseries due to his knowledge that what he is doing his evil and his unavailing efforts to convince himself otherwise. This point is driven home after his capture by the Americans at the end of the war. He commits suicide after an American interrogation officer shows him the pictures of some kids murdered at a concentration camp and tells him that if it was up to him he would allow any surviving parents of those kids to deal with him. As a side note Michael Moriarty has been an outspoken critic of abortion. No, the video makes my point well in this post, about evil and those who attempt to convince themselves that blackest evil is actually shining good.

  • I am reading Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg right now for the first time and every page has me saying, “oh my God!!” I came to a part where liberalism/progressivism is a fight against boredness(?) a trial of anything that if it works, do it!; religion is dammed for science. I can see where much of today’s ills are coming from. I trying to take this book with a grain of salt but my goodness this has been going on since Mussolini and the very late 1800s into the early 1900s and much is seen today. Mr Goldberg seems to take the argument very even handedly as well. Someone tell me I am wrong for believing this book.

  • Nothing of substance that Moriarty’s character says is meant to be taken seriously… – that is the higher critic speaking Donald. It does make your point.

  • There is a reason why God ordered the children of Israel to spare none of the Canaanites. Liberals like Jessica Delbalzo will never give up abortion – murdering babies. They will force the war on us the born in the same way that they have on the unborn, and they will do it using the same words that Maximillien Robespierre used as he led Catholic clerics and laity alike away to meet Dr. Guillotine’s merciful instrument of euthanasia: liberty, equality and fraternity.

  • Stranglehold of PC-ness.

  • The sadness and shattered-ness of this person; self-wounded – intellectualizing his soul’s conflict; searching for justification and redemption – despite his real inner knowing that he has been duped and has sinned tragically. I thought of Viktor Frankel’s Search for Meaning– from this side now.
    A very poignant scene as he walks away, still struggling, hearing the discussion behind him. And for me– also hearing that continuing conversation and knowing that today that same/different discussion/obfuscation still goes on.

    Placed side by side with the abortion lover and the infanticide “ethicists makes me feel almost helpless.

    I also hated to hear the reference to highly placed churchmen– afraid it is true– and at the same time afraid that it is yet another smearing strike at the Church; like all smears based on some truth.

  • And just recently two “ethicists” are trying to recommend “after-birth abortion” for parents who don’t care for what came forth. A clear sign of moral corruption is linguistic corruption, the flat refusal to state what one intends — in this case, infanticide. Even “abortion” was a piece of linguistic corruption. The word had meant “miscarriage” — think of an abortive flight. People wanted to “sell” the idea of abortion by calling it “induced abortion,” meaning “induced miscarriage,” when of course it was no such thing.

  • Go check out her facebook page, she has her picture up of her and someone dressed up as the devil. Very fitting…

    https://www.facebook.com/antiadoptiongrrl

  • Tony’s comment made me think of this:
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2189142/posts
    The Name Game (linguistic deception and rational judgment)

    a case can be made for anything people want to believe

  • Tony Esolen, ” A clear sign of moral corruption is linguistic corruption, the flat refusal to state what one intends — in this case, infanticide. Even “abortion” was a piece of linguistic corruption. ”
    The obliteration of a language is an obliteration of a people. A spontaneous abortion is a natural miscarriage, nature making its selection. An induced abortion is homicide.
    Hitler could not explain why the German race was superior, so he made up Ice Cosmology. The Germans came as frozen embryos from outer space by a space ship circling the planet. Stalin said:”killing one man is homicide. Killing 30,000,000 is a statistic.” In America, aborting 50,000,000 is a “political point of view”.

  • and they will do it using the same words that Maximillien Robespierre used as he led Catholic clerics and laity alike away to meet Dr. Guillotine’s merciful instrument of euthanasia: liberty

    By some creative misunderstanding this anecdote has become legendary:

    The impact of the French Revolution? “Too early to say.” – Zhou En Lai.

    We now have in the WH a man who has no problems with the murder of a baby who survived a botched abortion. Imagine the little fellow’s plight. His mother hates him. He has no father or uncles to protect him. Alone, the instruments of the state are deployed against his tiny frame. The doctors want to get over it and go on to their dinners and yet he refuses to die. And along comes the “constituitional expert” Obama like something out of Dean Swift, insisting that nonetheless the edicts of the Schreibtischtaters be carried out. Such are the benefits of a Harvard education. As the Lenten lamentations have it: if they do this when the wood is green, what will they do to dry wood?

  • Even though my chin was on my chest the whole time, I read it. I even strayed into the comments section.

    There, she says this, and it is a quote:

    “There is no [human] right to life support from someone else’s body, so there is nothing for me to mind seeing. Unless, of course, you want people to be forced into donating their spare organs…”

    To reiterate: “There is no [human] right to life support from someone else’s body”

    This gives us a valuable insight to the pro-death thought process:

    A) Since the first nine months of life are by nature the very act of one depending upon the body of another for life support, according to this logic, nobody has the right to be born.

    B) If nobody has the right to be born, those of us who were lucky enough to not be killed before birth exist only through either the arbitrary and subjective beneficence of somebody else, or because we are bred to a pre-determined utility. So . . .

    C) If our very creation is based solely on the beneficence or utilitarian purposes of another then our continued existence is at that same arbitrary and subjective beneficence or purpose. We then have no individual, natural rights at all, only those abilities granted or assigned by our progenitors. Things like liberty, self-determination the right to life itself are myths.

    D) If there are no natural rights at all, then, society is simply “survival of the fittest.” Control of society then devolves to those who can, through brute force, gain enough power to hold it.

    War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

    Sieg Heil.

    “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” – Joseph Stalin.

    The evil there cannot be any more obvious. We are dealing with Satan himself.

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  • All I can say is : Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20
    St. Michael, defend us in battle!

  • Donald McClarey: Your response to Ivan is perfect, defining the people. My thoughts follow.
    Jesus Christ said from the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”When Michael Moriarity, as Erik Dorf gives his impassioned, albeit evil speech, about Auschwitz, he alludes to the Jews as “Christ killers” and to the Hitlerites as having “saved” Christianity and civilization for the world as though world domination were not at the core of Nazism. His rant is contradicted by the fact that all priests were summarily sent to Aucshwitz, where Maximillian Kolbe died, or were executed outright. Eric Bolt’s character exhibits the madness of the Madman, Hitler, himself. Christ’s plea for forgiveness from the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” is not in their heart. They are the most miserable and vile of creatures. Saving the planet by murdering everybody who disagrees with them, pretending to be the JUSTICE of God, and yet, I am informed that the Soviets were more cruel, more savage. It is no wonder that Bolt committed suicide, as the Nazi did not accept the forgiveness of Jesus. Oberammergau is the village in Bavaria that was saved from the plague in the middle ages by the people promising that their whole economy would be based on promoting Christianity, most notably the Passion Play, and other art. After two hundred years, they became secularized and abandoned the Passion Play and the plague returned. The people resumed the Passion Play and the plague abated. Even now, the Jews content that the Passion Play depicts them as “Christ killers” but the fact is that it is what it is. Every human being, except the Immaculate Conception, bears the guilt and the glory of being saved by Christ’s crucifixion. The lesson is that without Christ’s forgiveness and the cross, civilization and humanity is not redeemed.

  • WKAiken:
    “nobody has the right to be born”. All men come into existence through God’s generosity. God is love. All creation and especially man exists through God’s love. God is existence. God is being. If nobody has the right to be born, then nobody has the right to human existence. The newly begotten sovereign being in the womb creates motherhood for the woman, grandmotherhood for her mother, great grandmotherthood for her grandmother and further. It is the same for the father to great grandfatherhood. HOPE AND CHANGE is what happens when a woman conceives and CHANGES into a mother. If this woman does not believe in human existence as being worthwhile she ought to give it back.
    The immortal, rational soul of the human being lives forever. The human being is composed of a rational, immortal soul and a human body. To redefine the human being as having no rational, immortal soul is a lie. Eternal consequences for an action of homicide will be taken into account by nature and nature’s God. If this evil person refuses to admit our Creator, then let her return her existence. Since she denies our Creator and our endowed unalienable right to life, she forfeits her sovereign personhood, her citizenship and her rational, immortal soul. The rational, immortal soul is the essence of humanity.

    “we are bred to a pre-determined utility” The compelling interest of the state in the newly begotten sovereign person in the womb is that the person constitutes the state by his being, being the standard of Justice for the state, perfect Justice, perfect innocence, virginity and virtue. The rational, immortal soul brought into existence by the will of God and by the procreative action of his human parents renews the face of the earth and the state. Unless this evil individual is going to live forever, the state needs the new human being to continue the state. Again, I say, if this evil individual does not like her existence she ought to surrender it back to our Creator. How can the state prevent reason? How can the state prevent God? “The fool says in his heart: There is no God”

    Thank you for the quote for Joseph Stalin: “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” – Joseph Stalin. Why would anybody in his right mind call the human race “ENEMIES”? ENEMIES

  • If human existence is a gift from God, then let everyone make himself useful. The act of free will in charity will set you free.

  • Mary – I share your incredulity. The idea that such concepts are now actually being put forward by some people makes me fear the worst is coming.

    Your arguments are extremely well-reasoned. I find it ironic that, in the logic which the pro-death crowd puts forward, they would also surrender their own so-called “right to privacy.” I suppose it is only naivete to believe that the fascists would be stopped by a logical fallacy.

    “Again, I say, if this evil individual does not like her existence she ought to surrender it back to our Creator.” Perfect.

  • You have to wonder if this women loves her child (the one she allowed to live) at all or if she is so narcissistic that the child exists as a vessel to spew her venom. Can you imagine looking at your living child and not at least wondering about the child you destroyed.

    I have two beautiful children that mean everything to me and I cannot look at them and think what if they had never been born? How much I would have missed…

    I pray her daughter realizes the evilness in her mother by denying her the love of her sibling.

  • I call BS on her story about her two-year old being disgusted with the idea of not having the ability to abort. I guarantee that is made up. I have two younger children who are naturally horrified/confused as to why someone would abort. Part of this is that we share with them ultrasounds of them (from their baby book) and their siblings and they recognize the obvious- I/sister was in mommy’s tummy. The idea that a two-year old would accept that the “fetus” is not a baby is silly. My guess is that she didn’t know what her mom meant when she switched from “Baby” when it was about having one versus “fetus” when she was talking about getting rid of it.

  • A case may be made here for Michael Moriarity playing Erik Dorf and Lila Rose playing a pimp.

  • I agree with david. Tell any two-year old that Mommy has a baby in her tummy and she is going to kill it, and you will see a classic example of natural law (i.e., law written on the hearts of men) at work. Call the baby a fetus you might get a different reaction, but only because they don’t understand what a fetus is.

  • WK Aiken: “I suppose it is only naivete to believe that the fascists would be stopped by a logical fallacy.
    “Again, I say, if this evil individual does not like her existence she ought to surrender it back to our Creator.”
    The reality of logical fallacy is if the individual has not surendered her existence back to our Creator and by an act of free will annihilated herself, she has at some point consented to her existence. The person cannot deny our Creator and assume her existence without contradicting herself. If the person exists, she cannot deny other persons who exist. If the person exists, she cannot deny the existence of God and other persons who exist.

  • This post is disturbing for two reasons, both of which have to do with the comparison of the Holocaust and abortion. First, you’ve chosen to use (as either a credible source or a means of drawing in readers) one of the most roundly dismissed and historically problematic Holocaust films ever produced. I encourage further reading about the mini-series “Holocaust.” It’s widely and rightly viewed as sensationalistic, extremely poorly researched, and an unethical and poorly executed mixing of fact and fiction (you’ve described Moriarty’s character here in the comments section, and while your description is accurate in terms of what’s depicted in the film, the historical record demonstrates that his character’s construction is a terrifically inaccurate representation). I recommend thinking twice before referring to this mini-series at all, let alone in conjunction with abortion.

    Second, I beg of you and all others to stop comparing the Holocaust to anything, let alone abortion. No one need shy away from their views of abortion in order to refrain from invoking the Holocaust to incite outrage. It’s absolutely unnecessary to connect the two and what’s worse, it’s fallacious. Using the Holocaust and its 11 million victims to make a point about anything only leads to inaccurate comparisons. Abortion may well be a horrifying epidemic. But it is *not* the Holocaust, or “a holocaust,” nor should one disturb the memories of millions to make a rhetorical point.

  • We have a holocaust of 54 million unborn babies since Roe v Wade just in these United States because men and women want to get their genitals titillated without taking responsibility for the consequences of engaging in sexual intercourse. World wide, the figure is surely much larger. So perhaps the comparison with the WW II holocaust of 11 million people murdered by the Nazis is unfair. Godless liberals in all countries are far, far worse than their Nazi forebearers.

  • “and while your description is accurate in terms of what’s depicted in the film, the historical record demonstrates that his character’s construction is a terrifically inaccurate representation).”

    Disagree Regina. The SS made a point of recruiting young professionals like the character portrayed by Moriarty. As depicted in the miniseries the SS took extreme pains to get rid of evidence of the Holocaust as best they could, with SS and other Nazi officials continuing to deny that the Holocaust occurred at all at the Nuremberg trials.

    In regard to the Holocaust and abortion, the comparison was between the attitude of the SS officials to the idea that there could be a public defense of the Holocaust and the pro-abort nutcase proclaiming her love of abortion. As for body counts, some 55 million kids have been done to death through abortion in this country. I pray that there may come a day when those deaths will cease. Until that time arrives I intend to draw whatever comparisons I deem relevant in pointing out the great evil that is celebrated as a constitutional right in our country.

  • The word holocaust doesn’t make sense when used in conjunction with abortion — the literal definition of this term isn’t applicable. Even if one wanted to believe that there are multiple holocausts, the historical (even Biblical) use of this term refers to a sacrificial death by fire. This makes some sense in terms of a place like Auschwitz. It does not make sense in terms of abortion. Moreover, numerous Holocaust scholars, historians, and survivors believe that it’s absolutely indecent to claim multiple holocausts. It’s their belief that there is only one, and it’s the capital “H” Holocaust, not the/a holocaust. I’m simply advocating that another term be located to describe the atrocity of abortion. That shouldn’t be too difficult, should it?

    Additionally, the claim that “Godless liberals in all countries are far, far worse than their Nazi forebearers (sic)” only further indicates an ignorance of history itself and to be frank, it’s a very ugly dismissal of the pain endured by those destroyed during the Holocaust.

  • What liberals do and say is an ugly dismissal of the pain liberals visit on the unborn as they dismember and vacuum out the remains from the womb, as they puncture skulls with scissors, as they throw the corpses in the trash.

    Godless liberalism. Godless, putrid, rancid liberalism. Worse than their Nazi and Communist forebearers. Crying the same as Robespierre: liberty, equality, fraternity. The only reason why someone cannot understand this is because that someone is liberal him/herself and believes in the right to chose to murder.

  • You do understand that it needn’t be *my* claim that Moriarty’s character is a ridiculous construction, yes? He’s an impossible fabrication and this is a claim that’s been verified by historian after historian. What more can be expected when not even one survivor was consulted during the filming of this mini-series… The notion that this SS officer would commit suicide and therefore acknowledge his own lack of morality is beyond dubious. Again, no need to disagree with me. I’m simply pointing out that a comparison built on factual inconsistencies is never going to be fruitful.

    I never mentioned body counts or comparisons of them — because it’s entirely beside the point. Those who claim that the Holocaust was unique don’t use body counts as the basis for their claims. There are many stellar scholars whom one could read for further information on this point and others.

  • Scroll down the web page here at Priests for Life to find links to pictures of babies torn apart by abortion – not for the faint of heart.

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/images/index.aspx

    This is what Hitler did. This is what Obama does. This is what Nazis diod. This is what liberal Democrats do.

  • “I never mentioned body counts or comparisons of them — because it’s entirely beside the point.”

    Until it’s your body! Or my body! You don’t get it, or worse, you refuse to get it.

  • “The word holocaust doesn’t make sense when used in conjunction with abortion — the literal definition of this term isn’t applicable.”

    Nor would it be in regard to the Holocaust if taken literally Regina, since I doubt if the Nazis were planning all of this as a burnt offering to God, no more than the abortionists who burn the bodies of their victims or simply dump them with garbage. In another sense, I guess it could fit both cases as the sacrifice is made to false Gods like racial purity, convenience, etc.

    “Moreover, numerous Holocaust scholars, historians, and survivors believe that it’s absolutely indecent to claim multiple holocausts.”

    Sadly Regina, killing innocent people in huge lots has not been rare in human history as the last century amply demonstrated. The Holocaust was a crime that cried out to God for justice. Alas, such crimes are many in the chronicles of human barbarity.

    “He’s an impossible fabrication”
    I would direct your attention Regina to Kurt Gerstein.

    http://www.auschwitz.dk/gerstein.htm

    “There are many stellar scholars whom one could read for further information on this point and others.”

    The claim that the Holocaust is unique Regina is a moral claim not a historical one. For a good overview on the subject I would suggest that you read “Is the Holocaust Unique?”

    http://www.amazon.com/Holocaust-Unique-Perspectives-Comparative-Genocide/dp/0813326427

  • Paul, it’s clear that you’re impassioned. I can respect that. I can’t respect multiple ad hominem attacks. I’m only trying to strengthen a pro-life argument by stripping it of problematic fallacies. I’m sorry that you instead see this as some sort of personal deficiency or decision to champion evil. I just can’t engage further with your claims. I can only suggest that you read my comments free of the assumption that I’m a “Godless liberal.” Hopefully you’ll recognize a different motive in them. Be well and God bless.

  • Dial it back Paul. Regina and I are having a reasonable debate and there is no need to attack her.

  • Donald, I have to smile in response to your latest post. Yes, I’ve read Rosenbaum’s book. In response, I’d suggest that you read Alvin Rosenfeld’s The End of the Holocaust, which recounts the many ways in which the Holocaust has been misappropriated. I didn’t mean to initiate a discussion about whether the Holocaust is or isn’t unique. There has been a decades-long debate on that subject that involves far savvier voices than my own, all of whom present an incredible range of intriguing responses. My point was only that if such a respected body of Holocaust scholars, historians, and survivors find tremendous problem with the use of the term “holocaust” when referencing other tragedies (in part, at least for some, because of the belief that the Holocaust was unique), it shouldn’t be too difficult to refrain from making such an association. Surely, one needn’t invoke a separate tragedy to emphasize the tragedy that is abortion.

    I can’t tell — are you claiming that Gerstein is a representative example of SS officers? Look to an excellent review of “Holocaust” in Wiesel’s And the Sea Is Never Full for more on the ridiculousness of Erik Dorf.

  • “suggest that you read Alvin Rosenfeld’s The End of the Holocaust, which recounts the many ways in which the Holocaust has been misappropriated.”

    Read it and found it unconvincing.

    “My point was only that if such a respected body of Holocaust scholars, historians, and survivors find tremendous problem with the use of the term “holocaust” when referencing other tragedies (in part, at least for some, because of the belief that the Holocaust was unique), it shouldn’t be too difficult to refrain from making such an association.”

    Not difficult at all, but I simply disagree that historically the Holocaust is sui generis.

    “that Gerstein is a representative example of SS officers?”

    No Regina, and you knew that even before you typed that query out. You postulated that a conscience stricken SS officer was an impossible fabrication and I disproved your assertion.

  • Very interesting! I’m attending a conference in two months that will explore Rosenfeld’s book in more depth. I do find it to be persuasive, personally. I think you’ll find Wiesel’s approach to these topics dissatisfying (if you don’t already), given your review of Rosenfeld.

    Erik Dorf is an impossible fabrication for many reasons, inclusive of the general presentation that an SS officer (especially one who was responsible for so much — far too much to be believable) might normally have an attack of conscience. The review by Wiesel goes into great detail regarding Dorf’s historical inaccuracy. I happily grant you that there were exceptions to this rule. I think it’s disingenuous to present the exception as the rule.

    In my experience, it’s rare that a blogger will take as much time as you have to respond to a reader. Thanks for entertaining my concerns so genuinely.

  • “I think you’ll find Wiesel’s approach to these topics dissatisfying”

    Not dissatisfying, merely different from my own. Considering Wiesel’s horrific personal experiences in the Holocaust I can readily understand his position and if I went through what he did I would probably share it.

    “I think it’s disingenuous to present the exception as the rule”.
    That is not my contention. Most SS officers were well educated, cultured and, from all external evidence, conscienceless killers.

    “Thanks for entertaining my concerns so genuinely.”

    Thank you for the good debate. I am always eager to engage in a reasoned exchange of views, particular on historical topics, as history is my abiding intellectual passion.

  • Sorry, Donald. I should know better than to type when I am angry. Apologies to Regina, too. I still maintain, however, that there is no essential difference between the past Holocaust that the Nazis perpetrated and the current Holocaust that the liberal progressives are perpetrating, except that today’s numbers of those murdered are far, far greater. Yet the photographs of human misery and suffering – whether a dismembered unborn child thrown in the trash heap, or a Jewish prisoner victimized by surgical torture and starvation – are all the same.

  • Censorship and misdirection department.

    We little people can’t use the holocaust as a metaphor for abortion because our rulers have declared abortion is a human right.

    Even worse, we mere Catholics would trivialize 70 year-old mass murders.

    Irony department. I never read any holocaust books. But, I know that if it wasn’t for my father (RIP) and all my uncles (RIP), they would not be here telling you what you can’t write. Irony.

  • It is indeed accurate to say that most SS officers were extremely well educated, and also that in spite of their educations, they routinely made immoral choices. They just didn’t normally acknowledge that what they were doing *was* immoral. While Dorf does this, it doesn’t strike me as acceptable to present as the average experience. Ultimately, since most “pro-choice” people also don’t acknowledge the immorality of their beliefs and actions, I wonder anew about referencing this series.

    “Thank you for the good debate. I am always eager to engage in a reasoned exchange of views, particular on historical topics, as history is my abiding intellectual passion.” Agreed. Though it’s a discussion of unimaginable horror, I thank you for the dialogue.

  • Regina,
    I don’t think either the film or Don ever suggested that the Moriarty character somehow was presenting the “average experience” of an SS officer. What you seem to be saying is that exceptional experiences are implausible even if they really occur, which strikes me as untenable. And I agree with Don and others that the proposition that the Holocaust’s massive cruelty was so exceptional in human history that it alone can warrant the term is grounded in something other than fact. While a case can be made that use of the term to describe mass murder of the unborn shows insensitivity to our memory of the mass murder of the Jews, one can also make the case that such a proposition is based on the assumption that the former is not as horrible as the latter, which I doubt can withstand scrutiny.

  • The enemy has many names. Each has a connotation, but all have the same underlying essence. Evil is evil. Debating the shades of murder makes none any more palatable or relevant.

    Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the battle. Be our protection against the malice and snares of the Devil. We humbly beseech God to command him. And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the powers of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

  • In functional terms the various Holocaust remembrances serve mainly as props for the liberal religion. So that, one can have all manner of recall in Europe but no one is supposed to notice that it is overwhelmingly the Muslims who make life a misery for the Jews there. This is a desirable state of affairs for the liberals and the tranzi set. As on the one hand the Europeans are prevented from taking effective action to secure their borders and adherence to their laws on the grounds that it is racist to do so, and on the other hand it is so far proved an effective tool to stymie any attempts by the Right to appeal to the nationalism of the Europeans to put their interests first. East Europeans have handled this naked attempt at mind-control better than the West, but there is no telling how long they can hold out in the face of well financed propaganda from the EU and Soros types.

    Now it seems to me that if the Holocaust is to be held in the same unapproachable light as Catholics are to hold the Eucharist, then at the minimum it behooves those who speak on its behalf to see to it, that it is not used to further partisan ends. But this is not what we see. No Catholic is allowed by mealy-mouthed rabbis to compare the worldwide plague of abortion to the holocaust, yet homosexuals get a pass to invoke its memory to further their agenda, forgetting that homosexuals such as Ernst Roehm were well represented in the Nazi Party. A thinking man cannot allow such blatant double standards to pass muster. Further, there was only one name that was worthy of blasphemy in the West and that is the Holy Trinity and its Persons. Blasphemy is passe now; why should the rest of us now replace the Trinity with the holocaust or the superstitions of the moment. I read the “Gulag Archipelago” when it can out in translation in the 70s and early 80s. Nothing that men are capable of has surprised me since. The Holocaust is neither unique nor unprecedented in scope or method then or in more recent times. There were the horrors perpetrated by King Leopold in Congo, the Armenian massacres, the millions who perished in the martyrdom of Tsarist Russia at the hands of the Communists many of them not incidentally Jews, the Ukrainian Holdomor, the mass induced starvations in Maoist China and the depredations of the Khmer Rouge. The perpetrators of all these genocides have by and large all gotten away with it. Kaganovitch, Molotov, Mao, Pol Pot and almost all their lieutenants all died in their sleep with little comment from the guardians of Holocaust memory. Yet no effort is spared to root out every last octogenarian Nazi holed out in some basement in Canada or Michigan. The Holocaust is of significance to Jews, it has none to me other than as a demonstration of the adage that God is on the side of the bigger artillery.

  • “The Holocaust is of significance to Jews, it has none to me other than as a demonstration of the adage that God is on the side of the bigger artillery.”

    Well Ivan it has a great deal significance to me, and I regret to say that I do not have a familial relationship to Christ. As for God being on the side of the bigger artillery, I think that is probably a bitter jest for Hitler and Stalin to ponder in Hell.

  • But you are adopted into the family, Donald.

    Romans 8:15

    For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

  • True Paul, and it is also true what Saint Ignatius Loyola said when advised that one of the members of his order had Jewish blood. “How wonderful for him to be related to Our Lord and His mother!”

  • The similarity between the Jews in the Holocaust and the unborn in the abotion holocaust, is that these persons were denied acknowledgement of their sovereign personhood. Deny the humanity of the person and everything becomes legal. Dorf’s argument was predicated on the propaganda that the Jews were not persons deserving of life. Hitler did his share of abortions: “Life not worthy of Life” General George Patton, shall I say beloved Gen. George Patton told his men going into battle: “Kill them with kindness”. Patton acknowledged the sovereign personhood of the enemy combatant and that of his own men. Grant and Lee respected the humanity of the other. You may not want to go back to Alexander the Great, but here too, was another leader who acknowledged his men as persons and respected them. Obama will not recognize and acknowledge the human person as being a child of God. Somewhere, oh, somewhere in the Old Testament, God calls man “lesser gods” small “g” I am still searching for the quote but if God is our Father, then, we, his children whom He has adopted are “lesser gods” aka sovereign persons. We are God’s INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. Only our Creator has a copyright, a patent on the human being ” I AM.” (If man is not a person, he cannot be an animal. Animals are a different species. Man is homosapiens: Man of Wisdom)

  • WK Aiken: Will you be so kind as to explain to me what the picture is. I see a white bunny rabbit getting his teeth brushed.

  • I regret the callousness of my remark Donald. Thank you for your patience. Of course God has the last word: Stalin’s “How many divisions does the Pope have?” is well a known cynical quip. The steadfast Eugenio Pacelli’s reply “Tell my son Joseph that he will meet my legions in heaven” puts things in perspective and should be equally well remembered.

  • I love that quip of Pius XII Ivan! He said it to Winston Churchill who uttered another of my favorite quotes:

    “You ask what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war by sea, land and air with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road will be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

Blood Boil Story of the Day

Wednesday, March 7, AD 2012

In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently – who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment – they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.

Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum

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32 Responses to Blood Boil Story of the Day

  • … or blood pressure spike of the day.
    Well, it’s the bills and there’s only little over half, so yeah.
    Two things:The ethicks of me and how dismal the information age is in government databases.

  • This is the conequence of the liberal mindset.

  • Arrggh! Consequence – can’t spell this morning!

  • This should not surprise anyone.

  • It certainly would not have surprised Pope Leo XIII Mike or one of his contemporaries:

    “In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.””

  • Maybe that attitude explains why we have the “Hate and Chains” regime running the country into the mud.

  • 1. It is a very odd contingency for which the eligibility standards did not take account. I am not sure why that would make your blood boil.

    2. Conjoined to that, you have a women who has been granted a lump sum which could generate for her north of $20,000 in interest and dividends per annum after taxes have been paid but who is under the impression she has no income. I can see chuckling and shaking my head over that, not getting angry.

    3. Conjoined to that, you have someone who fancies that her elevated and freely assumed housing and transportation expenses justify drawing on federal grocery subsidies. A mixture of dismay and amusement at that, I can feel. The thing is, obtuse and self-centered people are everywhere, and the damage they do (see the divorce courts) usually exceeds the $600 or $1,200 this woman was unjustly awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • “It is a very odd contingency for which the eligibility standards did not take account. I am not sure why that would make your blood boil”.

    Ha! You have got to be kidding Art! I see this type of gaming of the system all the time in my practice. This is merely an egregious example of something that occurs constantly in our society.

    “I can see chuckling and shaking my head over that, not getting angry.”

    You miss the point entirely Art. Her entitlement mentality is the problem not her ignorance (and I have little doubt that ignorance was not what caused her to continue taking food stamps after winning a million bucks). Ignorance can usually be corrected, while the idea that someone has a right to be supported by others is perhaps incurable after enough able-bodied people in a society believe it.

  • Donald, you’ve hit the nail on the head. What I immediately thought of was the fact that this obviously able bodied person (judging by the fact that she is able to go to the grocery store on her own and carry her own groceries in and out of the house) had no job and had been living on the government’s tab for who knows how long. Now that she has money laying around and some financial freedom to pay off any debts she might have, she didn’t go looking for a job or get a new wardrobe to help herself get a job when the money runs out.

    She seems to have no skills in this regard and that is one of the major problems of the welfare system. No job training, no cutoffs, no demands on the individual to help themselves while the government helps them get through a rough patch in their lives. It’s easy to get into the mindset that I can’t do this by myself when the government continually tells you can’t.

  • Ha! You have got to be kidding Art! I see this type of gaming of the system all the time in my practice. This is merely an egregious example of something that occurs constantly in our society.

    You represent trustafarians applying for food stamps?

  • I sue people who owe debts, represent people who owe debts and have always had a criminal defense practice. I would see more of it if I didn’t refer out my worker’s compensation cases to other attorneys. The number of people skimming from Uncle Sucker, and his state equivalents, is hard to exaggerate.

  • This is just one person…it’s human nature to take advantage of any system.
    The issue is, can we prevent most of it or even more important, do we stop essential programs for the people who really need and deserve them because people take advantage?
    As Catholics, it should be in our nature to help people, to donate, to support those that require it. Instead of focusing in on one bonehead woman, let’s work TOGETHER with government to make the systems more effective and efficient.

    I have a wonderful uncle who worked for 35 years and then was laid off middle of last year. He tried to find a job in his field of work, could not. He tried to find any job that could cover the bills, he could not. If not for unemployment during that 6 month period, he could have lost his house. Instead, he is still in his house and now has a job that he can work for the next 5 years with dignity.
    Programs are designed to help those who deserve and need them. They are flawed because we as humans are flawed, but instead of putting out negative because of this young woman, let’s figure a way to put out postive while still aiding those who require our assistance, love and prayers.

  • “They are flawed because we as humans are flawed, but instead of putting out negative because of this young woman, let’s figure a way to put out postive while still aiding those who require our assistance, love and prayers.”

    Indeed, and a swift kick in the hind end to those who are simply milking the system, something which is sometimes of assistance for those who wish to go through life as everybody else’s guest. I do not blame them conpletely of course, because the modern welfare state teachs people to be moochers, to game the system and to embrace petty larcency from the State as a way of life.

    Oh well, these things tend to be self-correcting, although not in a pleasant manner:

    “And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! “

  • Anecdotal:

    A long-time friend is retired from a NY PD (decent pension) and is collecting early Social Security. His wife has a full-time job with excellent benefits. He held a job but was laid off. Now, he receives a third (unemployment) government check. He says he is, “Unemployed and Overjoyed!”

    This week he is going to SS and get another $1,000 a month disability until he hits full SS age. “I got my rights!” Seriously . . .

    The execrable, vile Repugs won’t force the evil rich pay their “fair share” in taxes and want to starve the unemployed after 29 months!

  • Another unemployed and overjoyed: Wife of a Partner in a Wall Street Law Firm. I advised her not to wear her minks to the unemployment office.

    Cardinal Dolan refuses to pay for my condoms!

  • A long-time friend is retired from a NY PD (decent pension) and is collecting early Social Security.

    Are you sure you have not confounded disability benefits from his employer with disability benefits from the Social Security Administration? Disability benefits derived from employment as a police officer have been notorious for decades (tho’, if I understand correctly, they are less egregious than used to be the case). Social Security Disability is a program difficult to administer consistently as it requires discretionary decisions by hearing examiners, but the program has a considerable buy-in requirement and recipients are generally on it for a limited term of years before returning to the work force or reaching the age where they are eligible for old age and retirement benefits. I believe there are severe and perhaps absolute earned income limits if one is drawing benefits, but we can check. The disability beneficiary I know best retired at 59 (due to the effects of lupus) after nearly forty years of continuous employment.

  • AD: 100% sure. One may collect reduced-benefit SS at 62, depending, and there is the earned income reduction. Given the same “expiration date” assumption the present value of the reduced payments at 62 is not materially less than at 67 years.

    My man had 25 years and retired straight on longevity. In fact, he busted a bone on the job and was on full pay for years while he worked off the books, cash. When they retire they get one month paid terminal leave for each ten years service.

    You and i have too much time on our hands.

  • If he is collecting the old age and retirement benefits payable at age 62, I do not believe he is eligible for Social Security Disability, and he cannot be eligible for unemployement compensation unless he was let go from an on-the-books job and met a number of subsidiary requirements. Again, if he is at full salary due to an on-the-job injury, that would be derived from the union contract, not the Social Security law.

  • AD: May pal is on a PD pension.

    He is on SS.

    And, being that he was laid off from a full time on the books job: he is collecting unemployment benefits.

    He said he was going to apply for SS disbaility. I agree he probably won’t get it.

    I like his style and he is a friend.

    You and I have way too much time on our hands.

  • 1. His pension is deferred compensation. Public sector pensions in New York are fully funded as a rule, so retirees like your bud are generally not on a dole. As he is a municipal employee and a veteran of the police department, it is quite conceivable his pension is not fully funded. The thing is, total compensation for public sector employees is inflated by the deference New York politicians grant to public sector unions. That is not precisely ‘mooching’, more like ‘rent seeking’.

    2. You are right. It appears that you can draw disability benefits between the ages of 62 and the full retirement age (currently 66 and change). However, if he has not been for some years a working cop and was recently employed in some other occupation without injury, he categorically fails to qualify if his wages exceeded $1,000 a month. Tell him to break his leg again.

    3. Noodling around the New York State Department of Labor’s site, I see you are correct about that too. It is very explicit that unemployment compensation is intended only for those who are work-ready. That your friend may be, but such a contention would be rather in contrast to those he is making to the Social Security Administration in order to qualify for disability benefits.

    4. Drawing unemployment compensation is not in all cases ‘mooching’ either. You paid the taxes which support the benefits over the course of your work life. It is an income transfer program rather than an insurance or pension program, but if you draw benefits for no more than four months in a 15 year period, you might still be paying in more than you received.

  • We gotta get a life, AD!

  • According to the reporter (at the very end of the segment), it was completely legal for the person to continue to collect the food stamps. Assuming this is true, how is she ‘gaming the system’? Do we say that those who inherit millions from their parents and pay only 15% on investment gains and dividends are ‘gaming the system.’ Of course not, we say that they are simply paying as little as they are legally required to. This lottery winner paid her taxes during the year (certainly more in taxes than she ever will recieve in benefits) on what she won. In the year she won, she paid, say, $200,000 in taxes. $200,000 less $2,400 in benefits equals net tax of $197,600. She did everything she was legally entitled to do to reduce her taxes just like everyone else. When Bush sent out those $300 or $600 checks a few years back, did you return yours and say, “No, I cant take this?”

  • “This lottery winner paid her taxes during the year (certainly more in taxes than she ever will recieve in benefits) on what she won.”

    She had no choice since lottery winners have no option on that score, the taxes being taken out before they get a check for the remainder.

    “According to the reporter (at the very end of the segment), it was completely legal for the person to continue to collect the food stamps.”

    I doubt if the reporter was correct, since the Michigan food stamp program has an asset limit:
    “Asset Limit
    Effective October 1, 2011 there is an asset limit for FAP groups. Certain assets such as checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposits are considered when determining eligibility for FAP.”

    http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-5453_5527-13176–,00.html

    “Do we say that those who inherit millions from their parents and pay only 15% on investment gains and dividends are ‘gaming the system.’ ”

    No, we call it the government not double taxing income that their parents already paid tax on. That does not even rise to red herring status in attempting to justify the bald faced theft of this welfare cheat.

    If you truly cannot see what is wrong about someone with several hundred thousand dollars getting food stamps, I feel sorry for you.

  • For such as the hapless who aren’t lottery winners, even if only lottery customers, who are recipients of state and federal benefits, why aren’t the budget mavens coordinating fed and state benefits to each social security number including the IRS EIC credits. Department cooperation via ss# input could help deficit spending and waste.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t the welfare system recoup its outlays from lottery winners?

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  • “She seems to have no skills in this regard and that is one of the major problems of the welfare system. No job training, no cutoffs, no demands on the individual to help themselves while the government helps them get through a rough patch in their lives.”

    The Clinton-era welfare reforms place a 5-year lifetime limit on what used to be called Aid to Families with Dependent Children and is now called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). However, there are various ways to stop the 5-year “clock” and extend benefits longer, such as by being enrolled in postsecondary education or job training programs. Other benefits such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formerly known as “food stamps”) have no time limit as far as I know.

  • “She had no choice since lottery winners have no option on that score, the taxes being taken out before they get a check for the remainder.”

    Oh but she did have a choice. Had she gone to slick CPA firm in Any-Mid-Size-Town USA they would have been glad to set her up with a few trusts, or a horse farm, or any or the type of tax shelter or scheme (from relatively benign to downright fraudulent) to reduce her windfall. What the government took out as withholding could have come right back to her with the filing of her tax return.

    “I doubt if the reporter was correct, since the Michigan food stamp program has an asset limit:”

    That of course, would change my argument/opinion completely.

    “No, we call it the government not double taxing income that their parents already paid tax on.”

    If I had been referring to the Estate Tax, yes. Income tax is a different story. Example, I inherit $1 million. I invest the $1 million and earn dividends/capital gains of $60,000. My parents never paid tax on the $60,000 (yeah, I know, the corporation already paid its tax on the dividends I received…).

    Your blood boils when an inner city black woman who probably has no father, no sense of family, no proper upbringing regarding work/education/etc, no self-worth, and no clue on how to succeed financially (other than to buy lottery tickets!!), continues to recieve her $2,400 of reverse taxes after the big win. My blood boils when I read articles like this:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — About 12,000 tax cheats have come clean under a program that offered reduced penalties and no jail time to people who voluntarily disclosed assets they were hiding overseas, the Internal Revenue Service announced Thursday.

    Those people have so far paid $500 million in back taxes and interest. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said he expects the cases to yield substantially more money from penalties that have yet to be paid.

    The voluntary disclosure program, which ran from February to last week, is part of a larger effort by the IRS to crack down on tax dodgers who hide assets in overseas accounts. The agency stepped up its efforts in 2009, when Swiss banking giant UBS AG agreed to pay a $780 million fine and turn over details on thousands of accounts suspected of holding undeclared assets from American customers.

    Since then, the IRS has opened new enforcement offices overseas, beefed up staffing and expanded cooperation with foreign governments. A similar disclosure program in 2009 has so far netted $2.2 billion in back taxes, penalties and fines, from people with accounts in 140 countries, Shulman said.

    I guess my point is that this welfare queen is really just a petty theif. Really, $2,400? Even with the number of tax returns understating tax by $20,000 or $200,000 or more based on grey areas in the law, black areas that the CPAs call grey areas, and outright fraud?

  • Obama needs more of my children’s and grandchildren’s money!

    He just spent $10,000,000 to develop a $50 light bulb. The evil rich ain’t payin’ their fair share!

    The income tax is un-American and un-Christian. They had to subvert, er, amend the Constitution to impose it. Since 1913, the government owns you.

    Commie assassins like Bernardine Dorhn have more rights than alleged tax evaders. Under the Internal Revenue Code and tax crime practice you have no rights, e.g., the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

    The IRS makes the Spanish Inquisition look like a bunch of cub scouts.

  • “Oh but she did have a choice. Had she gone to slick CPA firm in Any-Mid-Size-Town USA they would have been glad to set her up with a few trusts, or a horse farm, or any or the type of tax shelter or scheme (from relatively benign to downright fraudulent) to reduce her windfall.”

    Yep, if you lose a lot of money in foolish business ventures you can save something on tax. Likewise if you set up a charitable trust where you have no access to the money for personal use, you can save on taxes. I doubt if either option would have been enticing to the welfare cheat million dollar lottery winner.

    “Your blood boils when an inner city black woman ”

    What a truly despicable attempt to bring race into the discusion, especially since the welfare cheat in question is white. No, my ire is directed at those, regardless of race, who pilfer public funds for private gain. As to the tax system, that monument to political chicanery piled upon byzantine complexity, I am in favor of root and branch reform, although that was not the subject of this post, although I have touched upon it in previous posts.

  • Oh but she did have a choice. Had she gone to slick CPA firm in Any-Mid-Size-Town USA they would have been glad to set her up with a few trusts, or a horse farm, or any or the type of tax shelter or scheme (from relatively benign to downright fraudulent) to reduce her windfall. What the government took out as withholding could have come right back to her with the filing of her tax return.

    I will leave it to Mr. Petrik to educate us all, but if I am not mistaken discoverable personal income in this country amounts to about $10 tn. About 25% of that is placed outside the boundaries of the tax base by a mass of deductions, exemptions, and credits. This woman was not antecedently engaged in investment or business, so I would tend to suspect her opportunities between the lottery award and the present day (a few months in time) were pretty minimal as to reducing the tax man’s share of her winnings.

    Let us posit for a moment she actually received $720,000. If she put 60% in equities and 40% in bonds, she might get $24,000 in nominal interest and dividends per year ‘ere income taxes. However, if you conceived of her income as a compound of real interest, real capital gains, and dividends, her imputed investment income might be something more along the lines of $14,000. Eligibility standards for certain means-tested programs (Medicaid, food stamps, and housing subsidies) are a multiple (1x to 1.75x) of the poverty line. The poverty line for a single individual is currently about $11,000. Depending on how you define her investment income, she might just qualify for some of these programs.

  • Had she gone to slick CPA firm

    I can think of adjectives for the accountants with whom I have crossed paths. ‘Slick’ would never be one.

The Urgently Relevant Pope Leo XIII

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012

 

 

By the patrons of liberalism, however, who make the State absolute and omnipotent, and proclaim that man should live altogether independently of God, the liberty of which We speak, which goes hand in hand with virtue and religion, is not admitted; and whatever is done for its preservation is accounted an injury and an offense against the State. Indeed, if what they say were really true, there would be no tyranny, no matter how monstrous, which we should not be bound to endure and submit to.

                                             Pope Leo XIII, Libertas

In his great encyclical Libertas (1888), examining the nature of liberty, Pope Leo XIII gives present day American Catholics much food for thought.   A few selections:

 

 

13. Moreover, the highest duty is to respect authority, and obediently to submit to just law; and by this the members of a community are effectually protected from the wrong-doing of evil men. Lawful power is from God, “and whosoever resisteth authority resisteth the ordinance of God’ ;(6) wherefore, obedience is greatly ennobled when subjected to an authority which is the most just and supreme of all. But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God. Thus, an effectual barrier being opposed to tyranny, the authority in the State will not have all its own way, but the interests and rights of all will be safeguarded – the rights of individuals, of domestic society, and of all the members of the commonwealth; all being free to live according to law and right reason; and in this, as We have shown, true liberty really consists.

29. From all this may be understood the nature and character of that liberty which the followers of liberalism so eagerly advocate and proclaim. On the one hand, they demand for themselves and for the State a license which opens the way to every perversity of opinion; and on the other, they hamper the Church in divers ways, restricting her liberty within narrowest limits, although from her teaching not only is there nothing to be feared, but in every respect very much to be gained.

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13 Responses to The Urgently Relevant Pope Leo XIII

  • Hey, Donald, please change “Leo XII” in the title to “Leo XIII”. Thanks. Am sharing on facebook and at my blog.

  • Leo’s observations were accurate and in light of subsequent events seem prophetic. In the mid-nineteenth century a liberal believed in free trade and laissez-faire economics. At the time of the Irish potato famine Peel’s Conservative ministry was prepared to countenance direct government interference to alleviate what was becoming apparent as a vast human tragedy; the incoming Liberal ministry (1846) was unwilling to go against the free market and insisted that relief be dependent on public works. As a result too little was done, and too late.

    At least classic liberals believed in free speech and (at least in theory) feedom of conscience. Their present-day counterparts seem to have little time for either. In fact the definition of a liberal is someone who will fight to the death for your right to agree with him.

  • Is it wrong for some to accept what is extorted from others? The issue of fairness is being brought into Obamacare. Possession of stolen property is against the law.

  • I always thought Pope Leo’s vision was of the coming wars of the 20th century but maybe he also saw the spread of contraception and abortion and the way the faith has been watered down. I think Bishop Jenky’s addition of the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel during the intentions is very appropriate.

  • “Hey, Donald, please change “Leo XII” in the title to “Leo XIII”. Thanks. Am sharing on facebook and at my blog.”

    Oops! Done! That is what happens when I am racing to complete a blog post just before heading off to Mass with the family!

  • John, I believe the Pope’s comments were more directed at Continental liberalism, and that of South America, than they were at liberalism in the Anglosphere. In the United States and the British Empire liberalism evoked little of the hostility to religion that was often a hallmark of liberalism in other areas. Popes grew fond of the “hands off” policy towards religion in the United States. One 19th century pope, his name eludes me, was no fan of liberalism in general, but noted that no where else was he more Pope than in the United States where the Catholic Church was not interfered with. Would to God that this was still true! Modern liberalism in the US fully embraces the anti-clericalism of Continental and South American liberalism of the time when Pope Leo wrote Libertas. In addition it goes much farther in exalting the power of the State over the individual than most of those liberals would have.

  • John Nolan’s right. The autocratic czar of the Russias closed to export of foodstuffs the ports of Poland to alleviate famine in Poland. See Paddy’s Lament.

    For the Brits it was more than laissez faire economics. Some saw starvation as a solution to the Irish problem.

    Pharaoh’s next diktat will be that Catholic priests must celebrate Nuptial Masses for gay couples.

    Mark Steyn makes a point.

    “The president of the United States has decided to go Henry VIII on the Church’s medieval ass. Whatever religious institutions might profess to believe in the matter of ‘women’s health,’ their pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities and immunities are now subordinate to a one-and-only supreme head on earth determined to repress, redress, restrain and amend their heresies. . . . But where’d all the pandering get them?”

    O, Say,
    Does that star spangled banner still wave,
    O’er the land of the spree
    And, the home of the slave?

  • “One 19th century pope, his name eludes me, was no fan of liberalism in general, but noted that no where else was he more Pope than in the United States where the Catholic Church was not interfered wit.”

    Don, I think that was Pope Gregory XVI.

  • It should also be remembered that what is called liberalism in the US is called in Europe socialism. Referring to T Shaw’s comment, no-one has properly explained the extraordinary population growth in Ireland in the century preceding the Famine, so that in 1845 its population was 8m, compared with 16m in the rest of the UK. (It’s now 4m compared with over 60m in the rest of the British Isles). To see famine as a solution to demographic/political problems might have a utilitarian logic to it, but the prevailing Christian ethic in Victorian times would never have allowed it to become policy. It took a 20th century Stalin to do this.

  • It is noteworthy that Pope Gregroy XVI is often cited (his encyclical Mirari Vos in particular) by the more anti-American element within the “traditionalist” movement as “proof” that American principles are inherently anti-Catholic, although nothing coould be further from the truth.

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  • George Weigel gave the annual Simon Lecture for the Ethics and Public Policy Center in D.C. just last week. The topic was the relevance of Leo XIII for our time. I imagine the lecture will be published soon in an upcoming issue of First Things.

    Dean

First American Saint

Sunday, November 13, AD 2011

“Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman.”

Pius XII

The first American citizen to be canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church was born on July 15, 1850 in Saint Angelo Lodigiano, in the Lombardy region of a then disunited Italy.  One of 13 children, Francesca Cabrini was born to her mother, who was then 52 years old, two months premature, and it was touch and go for a while as to whether the new baby would live.  Her health would be precarious all of her life, which, considering what she accomplished, should be a standing rebuke to those of us blessed with good health.

She studied for five years at a school run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart.  Her hearts desire was to be a missionary.  When she applied to enter a convent at age 18, however, she was turned down due to her health.  Nothing daunted, she returned to her home to help her parents on their farm.  A terrible small pox epidemic took the lives of her parents and almost took hers, but she was nursed back to health by her sister Rosa.  Almost miraculously she suffered no disfigurement from the small pox.

Taking a job as a substitute teacher at a nearby village, she taught with such skill and with such obvious love and concern for her pupils, that the rector of her parish, Father Antonio Serrati, who was to become a lifelong friend and advisor of hers, placed her in charge of an orphanage for girls in the parish, the House of Providence.  She was twenty-four at the time and she was presented with no easy task.  The orphanage was known as the House of Providence.  It had been set up by two well-meaning, but incompetent, laywomen, and it was badly organized and visibly failing.  In six years Francesca turned it around, winning the affection of the young girls in the orphanage through the care she showed to them.  While at the orphanage she took vows as a nun, and seven of her girls followed her example and became nuns and helped her run the orphanage.  Here for the first time we see the managerial skill with which Mother Cabrini, as she became universally known, was so gifted.

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2 Responses to First American Saint

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  • Interesting article. I’ve been thinking about this subject recently. I’m no fan of nationalistic religion, but I really like the way regions of Europe have patron saints. I think it’d be great if/when America develops its own regional devotions. You drive through any diocese in the US and you’ll find your St. Patricks and St. Casimirs, patrons of old homelands. And it seems like every ugly church in America is named after Thomas More (which is a function of when he was canonized, I guess). But there’s no pride of New England or patron of Ohio. There is Our Lady of Guadalupe, but that devotion seems to have taken on an ethnic dimension. I don’t know if what I’m saying makes any sense, or if it’s just another way of saying that Americans don’t have a common culture, but I sense it would be a good thing for Catholics in America.

Pope Leo XIII on Christopher Columbus

Monday, October 10, AD 2011

No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service.

Christopher Columbus

Another Columbus Day is upon us, and I always observe it with a post on the discoverer of the new world.  Go here to read an earlier post on Columbus.  The official observance this year in the US is on October 10, rather than on the date of the discovery of the New World which occurred on October 12.  I have posted before the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the 400th anniversary of the discovery.  This year we will take a closer look at his words, with comments interspersed by me.

QUARTO ABEUNTE SAECULO
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON
 THE COLUMBUS QUADRICENTENNIAL

To Our Venerable Brethren, the Archbishops and
Bishops of Spain, Italy, and the two Americas.

Now that four centuries have sped since a Ligurian first, under God’s guidance, touched shores unknown beyond the Atlantic, the whole world is eager to celebrate the memory of the event, and glorify its author.

Pope Leo flatly states that Columbus was guided by God on his voyage of discovery.  That is certainly in accord with what Columbus himself thought, as demonstrated by this excerpt from his letter to Raphael Sanchez, Treasurer of Ferdinand and Isabella, reporting on his first voyage:

But these great and marvellous results are not to be attributed to any merit of mine, but to the holy Christian faith, and to the piety and religion of our Sovereigns; for that which the unaided intellect of man could not compass, the spirit of God has granted to human exertions, for God is wont to hear the prayers of his servants who love his precepts even to the performance of apparent impossibilities. Thus it has happened to me in the present instance, who have accomplished a task to which the powers of mortal men had never hitherto attained; for if there have been those who have anywhere written or spoken of these islands, they have done so with doubts and conjectures, and no one has ever asserted that he has seen them, on which account their writings have been looked upon as little else than fables. Therefore let the king and queen, our princes and their most happy kingdoms, and all the other provinces of Christendom, render thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has granted us so great a victory and such prosperity. Let processions be made, and sacred feasts be held, and the temples be adorned with festive boughs. Let Christ rejoice on earth, as he rejoices in heaven in the prospect of the salvation of the souls of so many nations hitherto lost. Let us also rejoice, as well on account of the exaltation of our faith, as on account of the increase of our temporal prosperity, of which not only Spain, but all Christendom will be partakers.

Nor could a worthier reason be found where through zeal should be kindled. For the exploit is in itself the highest and grandest which any age has ever seen accomplished by man; and he who achieved it, for the greatness of his mind and heart, can be compared to but few in the history of humanity. By his toil another world emerged from the unsearched bosom of the ocean: hundreds of thousands of mortals have, from a state of blindness, been raised to the common level of the human race, reclaimed from savagery to gentleness and humanity; and, greatest of all, by the acquisition of those blessings of which Jesus Christ is the author, they have been recalled from destruction to eternal life.

Note that Pope Leo not only praises the spreading of Christianity, but also the raising up of the natives of the New World from “savagery to gentleness and humanity”.  How the intellectual fashions have changed from the time of Pope Leo to our own day!

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10 Responses to Pope Leo XIII on Christopher Columbus

  • Eliot Morrison wrote an excellent book on Columbus’ first voyage, Admiral of the Ocean Sea. It seems everything a sailor, or an admiral for that matter, did was accompanied by a prayer.

    Morrison also wrote The Two Ocean War, an outstanding short history of naval ops in WWII.

  • That was a condensed version of his multi-volumed official history of the US Navy in World War II. Morrison was an interesting fellow, a Harvard professor of History and a Navy Admiral. Such a combination is almost unimaginable today!

  • Hmmm, thinking out loud and running this past Don for his input. It just occurred to me that it *might* be said that the greatest military officers have a profound sense of history. I never really drew the connection before this moment, but I’m thinking to various things I have read and it almost always seems that it is the case. If valid, I’m wondering if one could suppose that it is an appreciation of history that in part leads a person to military service, at least (or especially) in the case of officers. At a cursory level it would seem to make sense. I have often found those who are least interested in or informed by history seem to be the most indifferent or opposed to things military. Thoughts?

  • Some soldiers certainly have had a strong interest in history Rick. Patton and Napoleon come to mind. However other able soldiers have been relatively uninterested in the subject, Washington and Grant for example. In my personal experience people in the military often have a greater knowledge of history, at least military history, than their civilian counterparts. In modern times it is impossible for an officer commissioned from either one of the military academies or ROTC not to have been exposed to some military history courses.

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  • Most of what I know about Columbus’ voyage is what I read from Warren Carroll’s book about Queen Isabel. Columbus certainly was no administrator, but as a navigator he was superior. While Columbus did not find what he set out to discover – a passage to India – he and he alone figured out a way to return to Spain, a journey that was more harrowing than the journey to the New World

    Since I was a young boy 40 years ago, the dufuses who run the education establishment have sought to trash Columbus. I don’t defend his administrative incompetence, but his navigation skills opened up an entire New World, a hemisphere that became majority Catholic. Portugal founded Brazil. France founded new France (Quebec). The Spanish Empire stretched from Tierra del Fuego to northern California, encompassing present day Florida, Texas and the American Southwest, most settled if only barely, before one English Protestant set foot on these shores.

    Columbus died, without money, alone, accused of crimes and a broken man.

  • At sea Columbus was in his element; ashore he was always adrift.

  • Apropos. From Morrison’s book quoted at “Never Yet Melted”:

    “America would eventually have been discovered if the Great Enterprise of Columbus had been rejected; yet who can predict what would have been the outcome? The voyage that took him to “The Indies” and home was no blind chance, but the creation of his own brain and soul, long studied, carefully planned, repeatedly urged on indifferent princes, and carried through by virtue of his courage, sea-knowledge and indomitable will. No later voyage could ever have such spectacular results, and Columbus’s fame would have been secure had he retired from the sea in 1493. Yet a lofty ambition to explore further, to organize the territories won for Castile, and to complete the circuit of the globe, sent him thrice more to America. These voyages, even more than the first, proved him to be the greatest navigator of his age, and enabled him to train the captains and pilots who were to display the banners of Spain off every American cape and island between Fifty North and Fifty South. The ease with which he dissipated the unknown terrors of the Ocean, the skill with which he found his way out and home, again and again, led thousands of men from every Western European nation into maritime adventure and exploration. And if Columbus was a failure as a colonial administrator, it was partly because his conception of a colony transcended the desire of his followers to impart, and the capacity of natives to receive, the institutions and culture of Renaissance Europe. …”

    Columbus’ discovery came at the culmination of 700 years of desultory wars of independence which molded the iron men (Hijos de Santiago) that won a vast empire and returned to Spain such wealth as had not been seen since Alexander conquered Persia or Caesar Gaul.

  • Great video sequence you posted.

    For some reason, the movie that this sequence is taken from is still not available in DVD (on Netflix).

Catholics in the American Revolution

Friday, September 23, AD 2011

Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.

Pope Leo XIII

American Catholics, a very small percentage of the population of the 13 colonies, 1.6 percent, were overwhelmingly patriots and played a role in the American Revolution out of all proportion to the small fragment of the American people they represented.  Among the Catholics who assumed leadership roles in the fight for our liberty were:

General Stephen Moylan  a noted cavalry commander and the first Muster Master-General of the Continental Army.

Captains Joshua Barney and John Barry,  two of the most successful naval commanders in the American Revolution.

Colonel John Fitzgerald was a trusted aide and private secretary to General George Washington.

Father Pierre Gibault, Vicar General of Illinois, whose aid was instrumental in the conquest of the Northwest for America by George Rogers Clark.

Thomas Fitzsimons served as a Pennsylvania militia company commander during the Trenton campaign.  Later in the War he helped found the Pennsylvania state navy.  After the War he was one of the two Catholic signers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787

Colonel Thomas Moore led a Philadelphia regiment in the War.

Major John Doyle led a group of elite riflemen during the War.

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7 Responses to Catholics in the American Revolution

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  • Thanks for this report. Any thoughts on the Catholic contribution to the British side? I imagine many Irish soldiers, some Scots, etc. Please share your insights.

  • There were of course quite a few Irish Catholics among the British regulars, probably about 25%, Ireland being a chief recruiting ground for the Royal Army. The French Canadians were almost all on the side of the British Crown during the War, the Quebec Act having granted them a measure of self-government, to the ire of many anti-Catholic Americans. Some Catholic Americans did fight for the crown, but their numbers were quite small, probably in the hundreds. One group was organized in New York calling themselves the Roman Catholic Volunteers. They were eventually disbanded by the British, proving themselves only proficient in plundering and militarily useless. On the other hand the Irish Volunteers, mostly Catholics, were a very good unit that after the War was taken into the Royal Army as a regular unit, the 105th Regiment of Foot.

  • You mentioned Pulaski but not Kosciuszko, who engineering skill ensured the American victory at Saratoga, which led to official French recognition. Pulaski was arguably the father of American cavalry, despite lukewarm support from Washington. As far as Moylan is concerned, he butted heads with Pulaski on several occasions and conspired to undermine Pulaski’s authority, which led to Pulaski resigning to organize his Legion…there is no evidence that Moylan had any battlefield skill…and much to suggest was felt more comfortable with his flask.

  • Pulaski was a brave and talented cavalry commander who had a quarrelsome disposition which undercut his effectiveness. You libel Moylan who was an effective cavalry commander getting valuable information to Washington about the British forces prior to the Battle of Monmouth. Kosciuszko was a good engineer, as he proved throughout the War, but I think you overstate his role in the Saratoga campaign. Morgan and Arnold, along with hordes of enraged American militia were much more important in that victory. I would have mentioned him if I had intended the list to be a comprehensive one, which was not my intent.

  • If anti-Catholicism had not been so prevalent in the Colonies, I suspect Quebec may have entered the war on the American side. When approached by the Americans, Quebec flatly rejected them – not because of love for Great Britain, but because of the Americans’ attitude towards the Catholic Church….yet another episode in history where being anti-Catholic is just plain stupid.

    The French soldiers, sailors and officers were certainly almost 100% Catholic. Let us not overlook the contributions of Spain. Then-Catholic Spain did fight in the War for Independence on the side of the United States. The Spanish Navy wreaked havoc on Great Britain in the Caribbean Sea and the Spaniards kicked the British Navy out of the Mississippi Valley.

    While the numbers of American Catholics in the War for Independence were understandably small, the Catholic contribution from France and Spain played no small part in the defeat of Great Britain. Under the Treaty of Paris, Spain got Florida back from England (later ceded by Madrid to the US in 1821).

    As we know, things did not end well for the Catholic monarchies in France and Spain. France was drained financially after the war and it was only six years after the Treaty of Paris that the Reign of Terror began.

    Spain was invaded by Bonaparte in the first decade of the 19th century and Great Britain, of all nations, fought to liberate Spain. Spain lost almost its entire empire less than 25 years after the Treaty of Paris. Eventually, most of Spain’s landholdings in North America ended up as the American West, which was evangelized by Catholic missionaries long before there was anyone who spoke English settled in the present day US.

  • Yes, Pulaski was quarrelsome…frustrated I suspect by the language barrier and the American distrust of foreign officers, but his problems with Moylan were fundamentally driven by the American lack of understanding of the role and potential of cavalry. Gathering intelligence was an important role and Moylan may have done well in that role, but he was not a battlefield commander. With with rare exceptions, Light Horse Harry Lee being the most prominent, American cavalry played no significant battlefield role in the major battles of the revolution…Tarleton showed what impact a couple of hundred well trained cavalry could have when he scattered the Virginia legislature and almost captured Thomas Jefferson.

    Koscuiszko’s fortifications at Bemis Heights, selected by both he and Arnold, forced the British to try and outflank them, requiring them to fight in wooded terrain giving Morgan’s men and the militia an advantage they would not have enjoyed if the British could just push up the road along the Hudson.

Public Employee Unions Explained

Friday, March 11, AD 2011

 

Now, there is a good deal of evidence in favor of the opinion that many of these societies are in the hands of secret leaders, and are managed on principles ill-according with Christianity and the public well-being; and that they do their utmost to get within their grasp the whole field of labor, and force working men either to join them or to starve. Under these circumstances Christian working men must do one of two things: either join associations in which their religion will be exposed to peril, or form associations among themselves and unite their forces so as to shake off courageously the yoke of so unrighteous and intolerable an oppression. No one who does not wish to expose man’s chief good to extreme risk will for a moment hesitate to say that the second alternative should by all means be adopted.

Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum

 

 

 

Klavan on the Culture, you are correct!  Public employee unions, by funding Democrats and providing election workers, effectively were able largely to write their own compensation packages, taxpayer be hanged.  It was a decades long merry party at the expense of the public, and many states are on the verge of bankruptcy as a result.  The battle over public employee unions is just the opening round in a huge political fight across the nation as the states, which are unable to simply print money as the federal government does, desperately grapple with looming fiscal insolvency.  Change is coming as change often does:  brought about by onrushing reality.

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8 Responses to Public Employee Unions Explained

  • Spot on! Collective bargaining is not a right. If it actually was, why is it the case that every person in this country is not obligated to be a member of a union in order have the “right” to collectively bargain? It is all about Democratic power and money but not about rights.

  • This is a really good one too. It’s by the Heritage organization and a little shorter than the other 2.

  • Public employees are like mothers in many ways…no one appreciates what they do until they aren’t there doing it. When schools deteriorate, good students no longer study to become teachers, long lines persist at government facilities due to worker shortage, children who are abused do not get the services they need, individuals with physical, emotional and/or mental challenges are left untreated…maybe some of you will begin to realize that many government workers are providing valuable service to a variety of vulnerable populations. And none of them are getting rich.

  • “Public employees are like mothers in many ways…no one appreciates what they do until they aren’t there doing it.”

    Considering the absenteeism rampant among public employees as opposed to people in the private sector a lot of them on any given day aren’t doing what they are paid to be doing in any case.

    “When schools deteriorate”

    We are spending more on public education today, adjusted for inflation, than we have ever spent, and the results are pathetic. That helps explain the rise in the homeschooling movement.

    “good students no longer study to become teachers”

    Education majors usually come from the bottom 25% academically of their colleges and universities.

    “long lines persist at government facilities due to worker shortage”

    We have that now and we have more people working for the government now than at any time since World War II.

    “children who are abused do not get the services they need”

    That is the case now, judging from the treatment that kids receive from the government in cases where I am appointed Guardian ad Litem for them by courts.

    “individuals with physical, emotional and/or mental challenges are left untreated”

    Once again, that is the case now. Scandals involving abuse of mentally handicapped individuals in government care are routine, often involving physical and sexual abuse by public employees.

    “maybe some of you will begin to realize that many government workers are providing valuable service to a variety of vulnerable populations.”

    Nah, I think it more likely that more people will awaken to the fact that governmental institutions created to help people have become giant cash cows that provide often rotten treatment to the people they are ostensibly meant to aid.

    “And none of them are getting rich.”

    Almost all of them are doing far better than they would if they had to hustle for a job in the private sector.

  • “We have more people working for the government now than at any time since World War II.”

    That depends on what level of government you are talking about. Federal employment has grown quite a bit, but not necessarily state and local employment. You need only look at all the vacant office space in downtown Springfield next time you’re here to see evidence of that. Many agencies of the State of Illinois have shrunk drastically in the last 10-15 years or so. The agency I work for once employed 25 people; it’s down to 14 today and with two people near retirement will probably be down to 12 shortly. Many state parks and historic sites like Lincoln’s New Salem that once employed numerous full time and seasonal workers are running almost entirely on unpaid volunteer help today — and their physical condition, sadly, shows that.

    I do think that some of the Lincoln sites would be better off being privatized in the long run (a la Colonial Williamsburg) and there is probably enough interest in Lincoln out there to get well-heeled donors interested in a foundation for that purpose. But the reason I suggest that is precisely because the ability of state government to handle these tasks is shrinking, not growing.

  • I would stand by my contention Elaine and I believe the numbers bear me out.

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/growth-in-government-employment/

    My county is actually an interesting example of the process. Livingston County in Illlinois has had a remarkably static population for over a century. We had 40,000 people approximately during the Grant administration and we have that today. When my former partner was growing up in a town of 4,000 in the Sixties the town had one cop and two part timers. We now have seven cops and three part timers. The growth of government employment at all levels in this country has been explosive since the Sixties.

  • Well, actually if you look at the chart, federal employment went DOWN in the 1990s and even in 2010 hadn’t quite bounced back to the 1990 level. My guess is that a lot of that decrease had to do with cutbacks in the military following the first Gulf War and the various rounds of base closings prescribed by the Base Realignment And Closing (BRAC) commission.

    As for overall federal and state employment, law enforcement is obviously one of those sectors of public employment that HAS grown explosively as cities and suburbs expand, crime rates go up, and state and federal government provide additional funding for hiring cops. Public schools in fast-growing areas also have to hire more people. They also have to hire more aides and support staff in recent years for things like special education, as I’m sure you know. Since the overall population of the U.S. has increased by 60 million since 1990 it stands to reason that schools and law enforcement would have to grow with it.

    Also some states went through a prison-building spree in the 1980s and 90s and those prisons obviously have to be staffed. Even so, understaffing and working guards overtime to the point of exhaustion is a common problem at some institutions (just ask someone who works at Pontiac Correctional Center ).

  • “My guess is that a lot of that decrease had to do with cutbacks in the military following the first Gulf War and the various rounds of base closings prescribed by the Base Realignment And Closing (BRAC) commission.”

    You would be correct in that assumption Elaine. The military went through a substantial reduction in force following the end of the Cold War.

    “As for overall federal and state employment, law enforcement is obviously one of those sectors of public employment that HAS grown explosively as cities and suburbs expand, crime rates go up, and state and federal government provide additional funding for hiring cops.”

    Population expansion has little to do with it Elaine. What has a lot to do with it is the earmarking of funds as you point out, and also legislation criminalizing fairly trivial matters. After 28 years doing criminal defense work, I’d say much of it is for nought. Local governments tend to use traffic tickets as sources of revenue which involve a fair amount of court time; very low level drug arrests; orders of protection that turn non-physical boyfriend and girlfriend and husband and wife spats into criminal cases; etc. A good 80% of criminal cases today I would estimate have little to do with maintaining public order and a great deal to do with a mistaken belief that government can micro-manage society and cure all ills.

    “They also have to hire more aides and support staff in recent years for things like special education, as I’m sure you know.”

    In regard to increased aides and support staff at schools I view almost all of this as wasted expenditure in my opinion. Schools have gotten endlessly bureaucratic and this development has helped further degrade the performance of an already shaky public school system. The movement to homeschooling is a testament to failing public schools even as we pump ever more funds into these bottomless money pits.

    “Also some states went through a prison-building spree in the 1980s and 90s and those prisons obviously have to be staffed. Even so, understaffing and working guards overtime to the point of exhaustion is a common problem at some institutions (just ask someone who works at Pontiac Correctional Center ).”

    I have represented quite a few guards at both Pontiac and Dwight. The stories they tell me have given me very little faith in how DOC spends our taxpayer funds. Additionally our prisons have effectively become hostels for very low level criminals, not their original intent, rather than places where only the most serious felons are sent. The abolition of county farms where low level offenders decades ago were sent, and which usually ran at a profit to the county, has helped create this problem.

    Our society has operated under the twin illusions that government can truly transform society and cure almost all ills, and that we had limitless funds to support such government. Both these illusions are ending before our eyes.

AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

National Public Radio’s ludicrous firing of Juan Williams and a subsequent mainstream media article on Catholic bloggers may seem to be two separate issues. Some may say what does the overwhelmingly conservative leaning Catholic blogosphere have in common with the liberal leaning Juan Williams? The answer is quite simple; both scare the mainstream media because Juan Williams and the majority of the Catholic blogosphere put forth interesting solutions to often discussed questions.

The modus operadi of some in the mainstream media is to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. Combine this with a Juan Williams quote which most of America agrees with and voila you have it; the ultimate straw man from which you can tear apart any minority who appears on Fox News or any Catholic blogger who faithfully defends the teachings of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church.

In this Associated Press article on the Catholic blogosphere, the piece mentions Thomas Peters and Michael Voris (who is known for his videos not his blogging,) but focuses on harsh unnamed Catholic bloggers. The article quotes John Allen who calls elements of the Catholic blogosphere “Taliban Catholicism.” The highly respected Mr. Allen, who though working for the dissident leaning National Catholic Reporter, is often known for his many high ranking Church contacts and his fairness. He should have know better than to give the quote that he did. To take a few bloggers from the right (or even from the left) and call them the Catholic blogosphere is the type of journalism that would not pass muster for a high school paper, let alone the AP. This would be akin to taking the worst rated college or pro football team and telling the world this is the best of American football, or perhaps watching the Walla Walla Community theater production of Hamlet and saying this is Hamlet at its finest. John Allen should have realized where this article was going and chosen his words more carefully.

The AP article continues by naming a Church official who seems worried about the Catholic blogosphere. One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Semple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana. I worked for years in a diocesan office and I have yet to meet, even in my travels, a diocesan official who is well versed in the blogosphere. It seems to be a generational thing and most diocesan officials are not to be confused with the younger, more conservative seminarians or young priests being ordained.

While some in the mainstream media snicker at the Pope and Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) they in reality have their own magisterium. In their secular magisterium anyone who believes in the Catholic Church’s authority is hopelessly outdated, because according to gatekeepers in the mainstream media, true thinkers are those in the dying liberal churches who don’t know what they believe. Sadly, GK Chesterton prophetically predicted this would happen. He said, “It’s not that atheists and agnostics believe in nothing, they believe in everything.” In modern parlance, “It’s all good.” How sad that some who proclaim to be “open minded” can’t see the obvious; liberal Christianity is dying on the vine.”

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19 Responses to AP's Article On The Catholic Blogosphere & NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams Are Par For The Course

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  • Keep preaching brother!

    I nominate the following excerpt to be the quote of year here at The American Catholic.

    “One wonders if the Church official would know the difference between Father John Zuhlsdorf from Father Richard McBrien, Amy Welborn from Aimee Simple McPherson, Mark Shea from Mark Sanford, Rocco Palmo from Rocco Mediate, or Tito Edwards from Tito Santana.”

  • Nothing to “wonder” about. The answers are self-evident.

  • Well said, excellent, wonderful!

  • Uh…it’s “magisterium.”

    Good piece, though.

    🙂

    -Theo

  • It’s not clear to me that Allen was interviewed for the AP story. He was using “Taliban Catholics” in his own writing at least as far back as February.

  • Great piece with good insight. I especially like your quote about people not knowing the difference between Catholic bloggers and others.

    One note: Allen’s quote reveals more about himself than it does about Catholic blogging or orthodox Catholics. For all those who believe him to be fair, you might want to read his work more closely and don’t forget that he chooses to work for the dissident Reporter. His work displays some real blind spots.

  • It’s just funny that in article that to some extent is bemoaning in the incivility of the blogosphere, the term “Taliban Catholic” is so casually tossed about as though there is nothing uncivil about that comparison.

    But that, of course, is par for the course for people who yelp the loudest about tone and the harshness of dialogue. What it really is is an attempt to change the topic and avoid having to defend indefensible positions.

  • Defending the indefensible?

    As in an article that defends the civility of Michael Sean Winters but paints Catholics who are righteously standing up and saying enough as fringe.

    30-40 thousand readers a month may be ‘nobody reading’ to you, but I think it is enough to get an army of Catholics to get folks who espouse the opinions of dissent, silenced.

    It is half past time we take our parishes and schools back.

    We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Carry on.

  • Someone should ask John Allen when was the last time a Catholic blogger destroyed millenia-old works of art. Or shot a woman in the back of the head as halftime entertainment at a soccer match. Or sponsored terrorists who flew airplanes into buildings killing 3000 people.

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why people who should know better consider John Allen to be “fair”. “Fair” people don’t make such idiotic comparisons.

  • We’ll look forward to more armchair criticism from you.

    Umm, what? I was critiquing the Allen quote and the condescending tone of the AP article, not Dave’s post.

  • Please, please, please – check your spell-check and correct “magEsterium” to “magIsterium”. The word comes from the Latin – magister.

  • Paul,

    Yes, my comments were about the article, not your comments which I completely agree with and thank you for stepping up to the plate to say.

  • p.s. I am not of the opinion that the article had coded message in it that needed to be cracked.

    There are many of us that are finished with letting teachers and priests preach and teach dissent and we area shutting it down by exposing what is going on with teaching, sanctifying and governing.

    Writing intellectual treatises on the internet is swell but it is not helping our children down at the local school being hoodwinked by Sister Mary Wear the Pants and Fr. Hehirtic. We have had to flee from our parishes, pull our children out of schools.

    What are we running from? It’s time to go back and demand our religion be taught.

    1. Pour through every bulletin and expose every problem, naming names and exercising your gifts by explaining the theological problems and consequences to our children.

    2. Start holding the priest accountable.

    3. If the priest won’t be held accountable, go to the Bishop.

    4. If the Bishop won’t be accountable, go to the Nuncio.

    5. If the Nuncio won’t hold them accountable, go to the Holy See.

    Round up as many in your area who are willing to do it.

    If in time, they do not intercede and do something to stop the people poisining the wells our children are drinking from, start a campaign to hold up the money on the annual Bishops appeal.

    Build it and they will flee.

    People may call it harsh. People like this author will call it fringe. Whatever hits you have to take from the author of this article on The American Catholic or anyone in the AP – Do it anyway.

    :O)

  • Anna, I do hope your not talking about me as being part of the dissent, or just sitting at my computer composing essays while Rome burns. I do think my bona fides as a writer, educator (working in the Church and taking a lot of heat from Church liberals) etc should fit pass muster. I would hope so anyone, considering how many nasty names I have been called by the liberals in the Church. If I have misinterpreted your remarks, please forgive me. However, it would appear to me that you think this article is somehow not orthodox enough. I don’t know how that is possible. It would seem to me that the first three or four commentors (among others) like what I have to say. Anyway, God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I actually never knew you existed before I found your article, but I can see that you are not a dissident.

    It has been such a refuge to come to the internet and read solid opinions. But we need those opinions to get into our schools and parishes and it is time to do something a little different.

    As a Boston activist who is part of the blogging community described in the AP, those of us on the ground doing this difficult ministry not only get called ‘names’ by dissidents, we are undermined by people on the right, sitting staring at their computers using their orthodoxy and bonafides to take cheap shots at us.

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    Is blogosphere a game of “who is the bigger player”? Is it about chumming around with folks who post comments telling you how great you are?

    Oh wait…

    Look, I’ve done my share of years of writing and defending the Magisterium.

    But you know what we realized?

    Not a single dissident in our children’s schools been removed from teaching children by the things we are writing on the internet (myself included)

    A lot of us have been parish shopping for ten years.

    It’s time to go to plan b.

    I can appreciate your frustration with the article that they failed to recognize the big wazoos who have been banging away at their keyboards. But the work we are doing is critical new work and the author of the AP article knew more about that then you did!

    Nobody on the ground is a threat to your thunder. We will not be competing in who is the greatest of them all contests. At ease.

    We are people who are trying to focus getting orthodoxy to our own children, family and friends while you bang away at your ministry doing it for people in the com boxes. Not as worthy as the work you are doing, but it is nonetheless, worthy work that did not deserve your cheap shot.

    The kicker was your respectful attitude towards John Allen, who in between working with Joan Chittister, Tom Roberts, Michael Sean Winters and Bishop Gumbleton (talk about fringe!) serving up poison to Christ’s souls, characterized parents fed up with dissent that is continuously being taught no matter how much you write with concerns to your Bishop, as lecherous murderers.

  • Goodness Anna I think the liberals have got the best of you. I spoke kindly of John Allen? I took him to task for his comment. I only said he was respected by many. Have you ever read what Father Zuhlsdorf says about John Allen? Father Z calls him “his friend and highly respected.” Do you think Father Z has gone wobbly too?

    I understand what you must be going through living in Boston. You may remember that I mentioned in my article that my childhood parish was scourged with not only one priest sent to the slammer for molestation, but two. Some of those these two deviants molested were my friends, so believe me I don’t need any lectures on that subject.

    I would suggest you take some time to pray over the whole matter, calling those that are on your side not wholly orthodox doesn’t help. God Bless & take care!

  • David,

    I must not be making myself clear.

    I have the greatest respect for Fr. Z. But I disagree with his characterizations of John Allen. I am NOT attacking Fr. Z or his orthodoxy. Nor, am I attacking your orthodoxy. Nor am I attacking you.

    Phew.

    There is no need to be defensive. Be at peace.

    The AP wrote an article about a new ministry in the Church and your reaction to it was a knee-jerk.
    Look here:

    ” to find a couple of unnamed fringe Catholic bloggers, who few read, and then make them become bigger players than they really are. ”

    The good people in Boston are getting off their fannies and taking our schools and parishes and chancery back. That’s what the article was about.

    What is it about that you wouldn’t embrace?

  • Anna, there is nothing about what you said that I wouldn’t embrace. God Bless you and the good people of Boston who are helping turn the tide. May God Be With You All!

Pope Leo XIII on Christopher Columbus

Tuesday, October 12, AD 2010

QUARTO ABEUNTE SAECULO
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON
THE COLUMBUS QUADRICENTENNIAL

To Our Venerable Brethren, the Archbishops and
Bishops of Spain, Italy, and the two Americas.

Now that four centuries have sped since a Ligurian first, under God’s guidance, touched shores unknown beyond the Atlantic, the whole world is eager to celebrate the memory of the event, and glorify its author. Nor could a worthier reason be found where through zeal should be kindled. For the exploit is in itself the highest and grandest which any age has ever seen accomplished by man; and he who achieved it, for the greatness of his mind and heart, can be compared to but few in the history of humanity. By his toil another world emerged from the unsearched bosom of the ocean: hundreds of thousands of mortals have, from a state of blindness, been raised to the common level of the human race, reclaimed from savagery to gentleness and humanity; and, greatest of all, by the acquisition of those blessings of which Jesus Christ is the author, they have been recalled from destruction to eternal life. Europe, indeed, overpowered at the time by the novelty and strangeness of the discovery, presently came to recognize what was due to Columbus, when, through the numerous colonies shipped to America, through the constant intercourse and interchange of business and the ocean-trade, an incredible addition was made to our knowledge of nature, and to the commonwealth; whilst at the same time the prestige of the European name was marvellously increased. Therefore, amidst so lavish a display of honour, so unanimous a tribute of congratulations, it is fitting that the Church should not be altogether silent; since she, by custom and precedent, willingly approves and endeavours to forward whatsoever she see, and wherever she see it, that is honourable and praiseworthy. It is true she reserves her special and greatest honours for virtues that most signally proclaim a high morality, for these are directly associated with the salvation of souls; but she does not, therefore, despise or lightly estimate virtues of other kinds. On the contrary, she has ever highly favoured and held in honour those who have deserved well of men in civil society, and have thus attained a lasting name among posterity. For God, indeed, is especially wonderful in his Saints – mirabilis in Sanctis suis; but the impress of His Divine virtue also appears in those who shine with excellent power of mind and spirit, since high intellect and greatness of spirit can be the property of men only through their parent and creator, God.

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3 Responses to Pope Leo XIII on Christopher Columbus

  • Glad to see someone else getting the true message out about Cristofero Columbo!!!!

  • As usual Don, another excellent article. I couldn’t help but think of the latest History Channel program I saw in which one of the “experts” made reference to Columbus being a “holy roller.” I wasn’t quite sure if this particular expert thought he was being generous since too many Columbus experts think of Columbus as a marauding conqueror. As I noted in my latest article, did any of these people ever wonder how and why so many Caribbean islands got their names (which ofter refer to the Blessed Mother and of her many titles?)

    Keep posting the truth Don, God only knows who might stop by and notice that what they see here doesn’t always jibe with what they are told by the mainstream media and the Big Education gatekeepers.

  • Thank you for your kind words Al and Dave.

    Dave, the Fifteenth Century was a religious time, and Columbus was noted by his contemporaries as being unusually religious. Many moderns have as hard a time comprehending religious zeal and motivation as Columbus and his contemporaries would comprehending people who think that life has no meaning beyond simple existence.

Praying the Holy Rosary in October

Saturday, October 2, AD 2010

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary — by personal recommendation of Pope Leo XIII:

In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary’s power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.

Beginning on September 1, 1883, with SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO, Pope Leo wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the Rosary, ending with DIUTURNI TEMPORIS in 1898. (Source: Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello, Catholic.net).

The spread of the devotion of the rosary is attributed to the revelation of Mary to St. Dominic, who sought her help in battling the heresy of the Albigenses. Robert Feeney’s “St. Dominic and the Rosary” gives a detailed account,

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One Response to Praying the Holy Rosary in October

  • Every day: beginning to end using a small prayer book (my grandmother gave me) with the prayers, meditations and scheduling.

    Prayer Before the Rosary
    “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may be enriched with its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners and (was Russia) America, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary. I ask it for he greater glory of God, for your own honor,and for the good of souls, especually my own. Amen.”

    The Blesed Virgin Mary (my Mother); legions of angels at her bidding; and the Holy Rosary have brought me through many “issues.”

    Each day last year my Rosary was for my son in Afghanistan. Now, it’s for another son or a brother with a chronic disease.

    When my mother was dying, we left her each night with her Rosary in her hands. She prayed the Rosary all her life. When I was taking a test for a scholarship, she was simultanepusly praying that Rosary for me. I scored enough to go to college. It may not have happened otherwise.

    Today and tomorrow will be the Glorious Mysteries.

Burleigh Defends the Pope

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

My second favorite living historian, Michael Burleigh, who has written stunningly original works on subjects as diverse as Nazi Germany, religion and politics in the last two centuries,  terrorism, and morality and World War II,  has taken up the cudgels against the despicable attitude of many Brits of the chattering classes regarding the visit of the Pope to the Island next to Ireland.

Under normal circumstances, one might say “welcome” rather than “receive”. But the multiple sexual scandals that have afflicted parts of the Catholic Church have created a window of opportunity for sundry chasers of limelight – including human rights militants, crusading gays, Islamist fanatics, and celebrity God-botherers – to band together to “arrest” the Pope under laws so obscure that few knew they existed. Because child abuse is involved, rather than the more widespread phenomenon of homosexual predation on young men, these manifestations will receive much media attention, especially from the BBC, to the guaranteed perplexity of a less involved general public in a nominally Protestant country. It will require some effort of mind to tune out this noise to hear what the Pope will be saying.

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3 Responses to Burleigh Defends the Pope

7 Responses to Stealing From The Poor

  • Poverty comes in many forms. Some of us are in dire “poverty” yet are given even less by many who should know better, thus causing immense suffering.

    There is not sufficient reflection on this reality. As such, it is an occasion of grace for those afflicted………but a yolk upon those who chose to ignore how their actions, in word and deed, injure another, already almost unable to bear their cross.

    Nice post. Thanks.

  • Does the Church teach that you will be judged by your personal charitable/corporal works; that is what YOU DO with YOUR money and your time/talents?

  • Really good article.

  • “However, the investment of superfluous income in secureing favorable opportunities for employment […] is to be considered […] an act of real liberality, particularly appropriate to the needs of our time.”

    In other words, one way (though certainly not the only way) that rich people can help the poor is by starting up businesses that provide jobs for them! Score at least one for the economic conservatives 🙂

    “It will be necessary above all to abandon a mentality in which the poor – as individuals and as people – are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

    Very true; however, that raises the question of whether the growth of high-tax nanny-state liberalism hasn’t done a lot to contribute to the perception of the poor as “irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

  • Elaine, I agree about the rich starting up a business, but we have to admit that there are many other rich who start up business ventures with not a care for those being employed thereby. I am thinking, especially, of all the CEOs and vice presidents of corporations who think nothing of taking a 1Million or 3M salary, while at the same time causing the company to need to downsize to maximize profits. Truly, a real board of directors should say to such money-grubbing CEO wannabes: “You say that your requested 3M salary is the ‘going rate’ for truly qualified executives. We say that no executive who would ask for such a salary could possibly be morally qualified for the job. We’ll look elsewhere.”

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  • The mega corporations and the excessively compensated executives cannot exist without the incestuous relationship of Big Government and Big Business. Mutual funds are a trick to get people to fund corporations without having any voting rights. The wealth of all is controlled by a very few. This is a problem that must be dealt with or everyone will become a slave, begging the government/corporations for a handout and charity (caritas, love) is not something that corporations or governments can engage in.

    As for our excess wealth, this is a relative area for us to discern. What may constitute excessive wealth in sub-Saharan Africa is not the case in the USA. We have tax obligations that they do not, we have transportation costs that they do not, we have many costs that they do not have and what we have in excess has to be looked at from that perspective. Additionally, money is not wealth. Having a few dollars in money market, CD, etc. is not wealth, it is merely a temporary store of currency that is losing value faster than it can be earned or profited from. a 10,000 sq. ft. home with only two children, that could be excessive – but, a 10,000 sq.ft. home with a dozen children, maybe not.

    This article is excellent because it summarizes Church teaching and, at least to me, it seems to stress the necessity of a free market, restrained government, strong Church and men who desire to lead a life of virtue. Sadly, our culture of duo-opolies intentionally clouds our thinking about such matters. Big Government vs. Big Business, Democrats vs. Republicans, Capitalism vs. Socialism, Thesis vs. Antithesis – all are two paths to the same perdition. We need to break free of this dualistic thinking, making us think we have choices. There is really only one choice: God or man. Hard as it is sometimes, especially with vestiges of ideology trapping my thinking, your’s too I suspect, we need to be more Catholic – we are so far short of the mark following years and years of minimalism.

    It is time for Maximum Catholicity and this article appears to summarize exactly that sentiment. Thanks for the reminder. Can you do it again tomorrow? 🙂

0 Responses to Why Aren't There More Worker Co-Ops?

  • The principles of neoclassical economics are a flashpoint in some Catholic circles, where the mainstream economist is derided for his “science” and unwavering belief that economic phenomena are defined by something akin to scientific laws. But what are we to make of this:

    An increasing percentage of Mondragon employees, for example, do not have an ownership stake in the company, but work for it much as they would for an ordinary business. But while this may be a solution for a particular co-operative business, it is not really a solution for the co-operative business model so much as a gradual abandonment of it.

    The Catholic criticism of mainstream economics is fair enough — get the anthropology in the correct order before positing homo economicus, we’re told. I sympathize, but if there’s an incentive against expansion because of share dilution even at Mondragon, how do we square this apparent inevitability with the insistence that politcal economy and economic institutions are not deterministic?

    (This is a bit off topic and might make a good topic for a separate post.)

  • I don’t know that it’s necessarily that far off-topic. My issue with most discussions of economic “justice” is that they inevitably drift over toward equality of outcome at the expense of equality of opportunity. That is precisely the issue, it seems to me, with Mondragon and other worker co-ops.

    SOmeone has to set a relative value for the stuff being co-op’d. Whoever does that will be required to make value judgments as to the relative worth if various inputs to the system, and then to relate those values to outcomes. If we’re all OK with me being paid less than Blackadder because I only input potatoes while he inputs truffles (does anyone not-French really eat those things?), then we’re good. But when Blackadder becomes richer than me because his inputs are more valuable than mine, many Catholic sociologists will cry foul and seek to level the playing field. THAT’S when we get into trouble.

    Concentration of wealth, or resources, or whatever, into the hands of less than the entire society is inevitable, unless we desire to take everyone to the lowest comoon denominator. And remember: when everyone is at a subsistence level…the poor will STILL be with us, except that none of us will be able to afford largesse to aid them!

  • “If employers and employees find, for the reasons given above, that worker co-ops are less preferable than other forms in many circumstances, there is nothing wrong with that.”

    I really hope the assumption here isn’t that anyone ever said there WAS something wrong with it.

  • Deacon Chip,

    ” But when Blackadder becomes richer than me because his inputs are more valuable than mine, many Catholic sociologists will cry foul and seek to level the playing field. THAT’S when we get into trouble.”

    I agree. And Catholic social teaching is clear – men have a right to make a profit from their labor, to enrich themselves. They also have a MORAL obligation to use their wealth charitably (which is NOT the same as saying that the state should force them to; unfortunately we live in a world in which people can ONLY imagine obligations coming from the state, since they no longer believe in God).

    “Concentration of wealth, or resources, or whatever, into the hands of less than the entire society is inevitable, unless we desire to take everyone to the lowest comoon denominator.”

    I completely agree. But “less than the entire society” is very broad. It could mean almost everyone, or it could mean almost no one. What Catholic social teaching makes clear is this: in so far as POSSIBLE (the exact words of Pius XI and a paraphrase of JP II), we should look for ways to make more people full participants in the economic process – through degrees of ownership and control of the means of production.

    This doesn’t mean “do it, even if it will ruin the company or the economy.” It means, “examine each situation to discover how far this general principle can be applied, if it all.” And even BA is forced to admit that in some sectors of the economy it DOES work.

    In any case, we also have to remember that the aim of CST is to prevent or mitigate class warfare. The Church has always recognized a polarizing tendency in what we call “capitalism” and has suggested Distributism as ONE way of addressing it.

    The other ways – labor unions, and state assistance, have mutated into corrupt bureaucratic enterprises. In fact I would argue that it is because of a false hope that men in all classes put in these institutions that the real solution, Distributism, was never really tried on a mass scale.

    Now that the bankruptcy of organized labor and welfare-statism is evident, I believe the already empirically demonstrated upward trend in employee ownership (which I pointed out in this post:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/06/25/worker-ownership-%E2%80%93-the-untold-stories/)

    will continue. Though some people make a career out of denying it, the dog-eat-dog individualism of the unfettered market does not and will not serve as the foundation of a stable or a just or a moral society. We are social beings, we are meant to live, to work, and to worship as a community (without negating our individual dignity or rights, of course).

    As a final thought, even Ronald Reagan supported employee ownership.

  • Pingback: Round Up – May 11, 2010 « Restrained Radical
  • Though some people make a career out of denying it, the dog-eat-dog individualism of the unfettered market does not and will not serve as the foundation of a stable or a just or a moral society.,-Joe Hargrave

    Dogs don’t eat dogs – despite the claims of those who make a career asserting it. However the 20th century experience with unfettered collectivism demonstrates that socialists do eat other socialists.

    I am pleased to see Blackadder’s article explaining that worker co-ops are rare not because they are wilfully suppressed by Secret Masters of Political Economy (SMOPEs) but because they are naturally selected against by people’s own individual choices. I am amused by advocates of distributism who use mass-produced computers and a ubiquitous Internet to stump for distributism without regard to the fact that such tools subsist in an economy where large capital formations are commonplace. As Blackadder put it, “worker co-ops tend to be disproportionately concentrated in labor intensive, capital light industries.” These haven’t been the commanding heights of a Western economy since the Industrial Revolution, maybe not even since the days medieval Benedictine monks built water wheels, windmills, and forges adjacent to their monasteries.

  • Micha,

    The extent to which you go to misrepresent arguments is well known, and unworthy of a response. I’ll pray for you.

Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made a determined effort for universal health coverage, without abortion, in the run-up to the vote on ObamaCare.  In the end, due to the abortion language in this bill, they condemned it in its entirety.

Now I believe that our bishops had the best intentions of wanting universal health coverage, but this violates the principle of subsidiarity.

The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

In 1891 Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which said that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently. Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function.

Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans, with an overwhelming 93% saying they are satisfied with their coverage.

And those that are uninsured, can get readily available treatment for a serious illness.  Including illegal aliens.

So why the bishops haste and aggressive posturing in pushing for something everybody already has and are satisfied with?

Continue reading...

89 Responses to Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

  • Tito,

    I think you’re absolutely right.

  • I have yet to find a bishop that can explain why they have been pushing for universal health coverage for these many years.

  • I really have to take issue with this. The FACT is that there are people who cannot afford adequate health care.

  • Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans

    I think the number is more like 68% (you’re forgetting the people covered under government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) In terms of funding it’s more like 50/50 government/nongovernment.

  • RR,

    There will always be people that cannot afford adequate health care.

    It also depends on what you mean by adequate.

    Pope Leo XIII states, “preferential option for the poor”, in Rerum Novarum, but doesn’t say “universal” option for the poor.

    Besides, the poor are covered under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act(EMTALA) and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act(COBRA).

    The EMTALA states that It requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. As a result of the act, patients needing emergency treatment can be discharged only under their own informed consent or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment..

  • BA,

    It depends on what statistics you are looking at.

    The 93% I am quoting shows studies “that most Americans are overwhelmingly happy with their own health care”.

  • Neither did Pope Leo XIII say “preferential option for some of the poor.”

    The poor aren’t “covered.” They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?

    I was planning on writing about this very topic over the weekend. Hopefully, I can get to it tonight. Bottom line is I think you’re wrong and the bishops are right.

  • Why does a massive government takeover of health care have to be the only way to help the poor?

    There were other measures proposed that would have helped lower the cost of health care, which is abysmally high in the US – allowing people to buy insurance across state lines would have been a start.

    And, I have no problem if individual states want to go the Massachusetts way.

    But this federal monster could end up bankrupting dozens of states, causing the loss of millions of more jobs, and further crippling the country with massive debt. How does any of that help the poor? It hurts them.

  • “They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?”

    There’s no Catholic mandate to create a socialist utopia in which poverty becomes impossible. Sorry.

  • RR,

    Option does not mean absolutely necessary.

    You can’t change the meaning of the word option.

    I was quoting Pope Leo XIII.

    You are making stuff up, like many liberals do. So stop reading into Rerum Novarum what isn’t there, ie, forcing people to pay. This violates the Principle of Subsidiarity, not to mention you can’t force people against their will.

    Maybe you would learn this concept if you lived in the old Soviet Union.

    Over there you’ll learn really fast.

  • Absofreakinlutely right it violates the principle of subsidiarity. If only the USCCB would start talking about this aspect of the matter. But to expect them to do that is wishful thinking I know.

  • Long time reader, first time commenter.

    All EMTALA does is prevent emergency departments from refusing treatment to patients who cannot pay, and keeps EDs from transferring them to other institutions (AKA “dumping”)on the basis of their ability to pay. It does not preclude them from billing the patient for services rendered, which can be considerable. It also does not cover the cost of any prescriptions given as a result of the ED visit, nor does it have anything to do with maintenance care, which can help prevent the need for ED care in the first place.

    I’m not saying I am a proponent of the bill passed yeaterday, nor am I commenting on whether or not the bill passed violates subsidiarity. But EMTALA does not provide for anything more than immedate, acute care- it does not address most of the health care needs of people without insurance.

  • Because subsidiarity does not deny the need for solidarity nor that there are needs for structures to deal with needs which are not met at the local level, this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity. The fact that on the local level, the needs are not met, are not being met, and being left to as they are, people are dying, this demonstrates the need for action beyond the local level. And having an overarching structure also does not deny the local access: indeed, the bill is about _getting insurance_ and making sure insurance _doesn’t act like a ponzi scheme_. Oh well.

  • This post conveys a flawed understanding of subsidiarity. Worse, it violates the principle that all Catholic teaching, including social teaching, must be read as a whole. Subsidiarity does not exist without solidarity, preferential option for the poor, etc.

    Secondly, the post misrepresents the facts. Subsidiarity and solidarity obligate the higher level to step in when the lower order cannot provide. There is plenty of evidence that that situation exists. Also, there is, in some respects, more subsidiarity in the health care bill in that it provides more choices in payers than the present system. In some states, there is no competition in the insurance market and only large, dehumanizing insurers exists – which is itself contrary to the principle of subsidiarity.

  • For Catholic supporters of this bill, make your argument. I do not question your motives. But neither should those, such as myself, that hoped this bill would go down in flames have their motives questioned.

    I admire and adhere to (from the abstract plain of my disicpline, public affairs/political philosophy) the Catholic notion of subsidiarity. This bill is a violation, in my view, of both that of solidarity. I don’t particularly care to argue this point, but the Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking is much better: private catastrophic insurance for young and old, some public subsidies but no government control, and finally a more controlled spending curve.

    Our entitlements are about to eat us alive (and yes that includes Wilsonian adventures). Our “culture wars” are about to get a lot worse (“why should I subsidize that sort of lifestyle”?)

    This bill deserved to fail. Now we live with consequences. I hope that its supporters in the Catholic blogosphere respond charitably, and keep their moral preening and motive questioning in check.

  • It’s disingenuous to claim that needs were not being met at the local level when options that might have addressed local problems were never given a chance.

    This was nothing but a power grab, plain and simple.

    The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity? They’ll make their voices heard in the months to come, that’s to be sure, as this bill is nullified by state legislatures and voters, or possibly overturned by the courts.

  • Henry K & Charles,

    this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity.

    Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    Typical liberal strategies.

  • Tito, as others have pointed out, we aren’t making anything up. You are simply misunderstanding the principle of subsidiarity.

    jonathonjones, I would love to have seen what you call the “Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking.” But some here are arguing that even that would violate subsidiarity. They mistakenly believe that any federal meddling is unCatholic.

  • Ever More Out-of-Balance

    The correct balance between subsidiarity and solidarity would, of course, fall somewhere in the middle between “every man for himself” and “universal nationally-regulated health insurance system.” And prudential concerns would indicate the need for incremental adjustments.

    But Democrats opted to start from scratch and envision a plan which would transform the existing system into their ideal vision. That was unattainable, so they instead moved as sharply in the direction of that centralized, uniform, and mandatory system as they could possibly go given the political climate.

    Thus we have moved from somewhere in the middle between the extremes, to a spot hugely in the direction of one extreme. It requires only a cursory examination to realize that we’ve both neglected prudence and moved farther away from the balance-point between subsidiarity and solidarity than we started out.

    That’s reason enough to pray for repeal.

    Upheaval In Pursuit Of The Anointed Vision

    But if Democrats, in typical progressive fashion, decided to throw caution to the winds and envision their ideal system, how I do wish they’d have envisioned something compatible with not only the narrow “social justice” concerns of the Church, but more broadly with reality in general as the Church, pillar and bulwark of truth, recognizes it.

    For just as she is not ignorant of science, and so does not ask for impossible physics and medicine merely because social justice champions are prone to wishful thinking; so too she is not ignorant of the frictions which make human social systems imperfect, and so she does not ask for impossible economics and bass-ackward systems of incentives when social justice champions put more stress on the noble motives of their “reforms” than the outcomes likely to occur.

    Thomas Sowell correctly dissects this progressive habit of mind in his classic The Vision Of The Annointed. The plans Obama and Company originally pursued showed all the usual hubris of this group; the plan enacted was less so only because it wasn’t all they originally wanted.

    If they couldn’t resist the unwise urge for grandiosity, why oh why couldn’t it have been something wisely designed around the correct priorities and the need for helpful, rather than perverse, incentives?

    The Right Kind of Incentives

    In envisioning a health care system, we should always have had in mind the system of incentives we wished to create.

    First and foremost, human dignity obligates us to incentivize whatever self-provision the bulk of responsible adults can manage: Thus the Medical Savings Account should be the chief electronic wallet from which health care is purchased. This also puts the major emphasis where subsidiarity suggests it should go, at the individual level.

    Second, we want to get the most out of the pricing system generated by the free market: Thus medical care should be purchased directly by the consumer, directly from the provider, without middlemen (governments, HMOs) serving as pre-paid arbitrageurs who both distort prices by preventing consumer decisions from being transmitted as price-signals.

    Third, we want to provide an escape valve for those who encounter surprise catastrophic health care costs for which it was impossible that they could adequately save, even over a lifetime. Thus catastrophic care insurance — not pre-pay, but “if it happens” insurance — should be a part of the plan. The threshold for “catastrophic,” however, should be sufficiently high as to disincentivize risk-taking lifestyles from promiscuous sex to drunk driving to chain-smoking to radical obesity: It is a feature, not a bug, when a health care system makes such behaviors progressively impoverishing.

    Fourth, we want the poor to have assistance in building up their Health Savings. Vouchers and government-matching inversely proportional to income should keep them saving into their accounts and thus building up a “rainy day” fund.

    Fifth, we want children to be assisted outright. Health care costs for children could be reimbursed by the government at very high percentage rates for very young children, gradually tapering down to 0% by the time the child turns eighteen. Here, incentives are a lesser matter because children are not responsible for paying their own way.

    Sixth, we want voluntary almsgiving at the individual, community, state, and national levels to be incentivized, not displaced (as is usually the case in welfare state systems). A system which reports health care needs similar to the “Modest Needs” website could serve this function.

    The Right Balance of Subsidiarity and Solidarity

    In addition to envisioning the right kinds of incentives, we should also have had a vision in mind for how a system which recognized the complimentary (not always competing) claims of subsidiarity and solidarity would look.

    It’s primary mode of provision would be based on private purchase; its secondary mode of provision would be based on voluntary charity; its tertiary mode of provision would be through government compulsion via taxation.

    Its primary decision-making and governance would be on the level of individuals as they made purchase choices in the health care market; secondary on the level of communities, tertiary on the level of states, and last of all on the federal level.

    Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

    That’s what we ought to have gone for, once we decided to do something grandiose.

    Instead, we have this dog’s breakfast — or will have, for as long as it takes to shove it back inside the dog, God willing.

  • RR,

    You’ve made no points yet you use Henry’s and Charle’s infantile attacks on me as a “reason”.

    Don’t be a slacker and do your own thinking for once instead of getting your marching orders from the Democratic Party.

  • R.C.,

    Well thought out points on balancing solidarity and subsidiarity.

    Sadly Henry K. and Charles weren’t arguing that, they were only mudslinging to smear me. Not debate the substance.

  • Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    You are the one who attacked the poster with the typical liberal comment. Because I pointed out the problem of your use of subsidiarity. In ecclesiology, it would mean the Pope shouldn’t be able do anything with any canon laws, if one followed your lead.

  • Now you’re offended for being a liberal?

    😉

  • Federal “meddling” may or may not violate subsidiarity – I won’t say that it does in every single case.

    But we also have a Constitution. Why don’t we just get rid of that, so that Obama can single-handedly legislate us into a utopia. And we can print another 50 trillion dollars without any economic consequences to pay for it. Or we can shift all of the burden onto the states, almost all of which are facing severe budget crises. Or we can beg the Chinese and Japanese to keep buying our securities. The US is the greatest debtor nation in the world, but hey, lets not let that stop us from establishing programs with a price tag only a little short of the entire GDP.

    Catholic social teaching isn’t magic, and the Papacy has never insisted on this Fantasia style of government, where the executive waves a magic wand and creates resources ex nihilo for unlimited consumption. To suggest that solidarity or subsidiarity are bankruptcy pacts, or that they allow any politician at any time to ride roughshod over the laws of a particular nation, is a falsification of Catholic social thought, as immoral as it is absurd.

  • I agree with Joe that there is a role for the Federal government, with respect to Restrained Radical, Henry K., and Charles, but like Mr. Hargrave says, not in every single case.

    Where is the line drawn?

  • I have always said, Tito, I am not a liberal. It is wrong to claim I am. It is also an ad homimen.

  • You still don’t know what an ad hominem is. It isn’t a synonym for insult. If Tito were to argue, “because (I think) you are a liberal, your argument is wrong”, THAT would be an ad hominem.

    Identifying an argument one doesn’t like with a label one doesn’t like isn’t the same as rejecting an argument simply because of a label attached to the person making it. I’ll let Tito decide which one of these he’s doing.

  • Henry K.,

    Must have escaped me when you said it in the past.

    I won’t do it again buddy.

    And I was being cute, not nasty.

    (Thanks Joe)

  • The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity?

    They were. Nobody was stopping them. That’s why Massachusetts was able to do it. Without this federal bill, a handful of other states would’ve followed suit. But too many states would not have. The federal government had to step in.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion of the issues here. I agree with jonathan, Henry, Charles, and RC. We are all saying that the federal government CAN bypass the state and impose health care reform. Tito believes that violates subsidiarity.

  • RR,

    When you say bypass, are speaking in the context of a Catholic or as a U.S. citizen.

    As a Catholic the federal government can step in, if local governments and/or non-governmental organizations are unable to fill that gap.

    And only if it is done in solidarity (since that wasn’t my argument, but I’m throwing it in there to avoid getting this thread hijacked

    From the perspective of a U.S. citizen, I’m all for representative republic, but not at the expense of the minorities, ie, such as the minority party in congress, the GOP. But that’s for another thread, not this thread.

  • Joe

    I very much know what an ad homimen is. You are right, it is not to insult. But it is to use some aspect of the person making the message (claiming they are liberal) to dismiss their argument. He didn’t respond to the argument. He just said “liberals” as if that answered it all. Classical ad homimen. But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.

  • Henry,

    It wasn’t an ad hominem.

    Though it’s quite telling that you take it as such.

  • “But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.”

    By your standards, THAT’S an ad hominem. Run along now, you’ve failed to make any impression or change anyone’s mind for the 50th time here.

  • As a Scalian, I think the bill is unconstitutional, as is the federal partial birth abortion ban. But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds. I’m speaking as a Catholic.

    Most of us here seem to believe that the federal government could impose some form of universal health care without violating subsidiarity, even though we may disagree with this particular bill.

  • RR,

    We agree in theory.

    I think most, if not all of us here, agree with your statement.

    What’s a “Scalian”?

    As in Antonin Scalia and skepticism in the 6th Amendment?

    As for…

    But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds.

    We aren’t Ba’al worshipers if that is your point.

  • The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

    You are free to think that “Obamacare” violates the principle of subsidiarity. That is a matter of debate. But this definition of subsidiarity is simply incorrect. Subsidiarity means the handling of affairs at the lowest appropriate level. Consider, for example, why putting “national defense” at the level of city government might be a problem. Something tells me that you would not be in favor of that. I point this out as someone who definitely agrees with the impulse to keep things as local as possible.

  • I used “Scalian” as an admittedly imprecise shorthand for a Meaning Originalist (as opposed to an Intent Originalist).

    I think there are too many Americans who think man should serve the Constitution, not the other way around.

  • Tito,

    “Universal” is not a synonym for “socialized” or “federally managed.” There is no contradiction between a goal of universal health coverage and a goal of subsidiarity.

    R.C.’s description is one approach to universal health care. It’s probably not the only one, but it does show that subsidiarity and solidarity work together to promote the common (which can be taken to mean “universal” among other things) good.

    I would only add that subsidiarity is not simply The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government, as you put it. Subsidiarity is the ordering of appropriate functions to appropriate aspects of society. For example, some decisions appear to affect only an individual, but are best made by a family.

  • To clarify, the health care bill may indeed violate subsidiarity, but it does not do so simply because it seeks universal availability of health care. (I don’t know the details of the bill well enough to critique it on that basis; but most federal legislation seems to violate subsidiarity in at least minor ways.)

    Nor are the bishops hypocrites for seeking universal access to health care. That’s all.

  • Most of the time, I find that those who say that the principle of subsidiarity is not violated by the recent health care bill have simply defined the object as “universal health care.” Therefore, since no state can provide universal health care for the United States, or even for all the poor in the United States, subsidiarity is not violated by federal action.

    However, aside from my guess as to how the proponents of such a massive bill excuse its existence, there are the following points from Rerum to consider:

    “The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law’s interference – the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.”

    This indicates that reform of the costliness plus programs to remedy the state of the poor who cannot otherwise afford it are to be desired here. The “Obamacare” bill then violates subsidiarity insofar as it goes beyond these measures. And indeed, though in a different context, we find in RN the statement, “But every precaution should be taken not to violate the rights of individuals and not to impose unreasonable regulations under pretense of public benefit.”

    But, then, I think it is also worthwhile to turn to Quadragesimo Anno, which states that although “[w]hen we speak of the reform of institutions, the State comes chiefly to mind,” still:

    “Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.”

    Mutual health organizations, currently heavily regulated, could do such things, and indeed have been proposed. Under this legislation, they are absorbed. Moreover, “Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them: directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands.” Necessity did not demand that the government replace the present system with something much different – it likely demanded reform of the present system and care of the most poor – which was clearly violated.

    Turning also to Mater et Magistra, we see that although “[t]he present advance in scientific knowledge and productive technology clearly puts it within the power of the public authority to a much greater degree than ever before to reduce imbalances which may exist between different branches of the economy,” still and yet, “it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom while effectively guaranteeing the protection of his essential personal rights. Among these is a man’s right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family.”

    I do not think that “Obamacare” leaves the latter to the man. I think it, in fact, does far more than is necessary, and eradicates part of the primary responsibility of the man. Part of the problem of this is that “experience has shown that where personal initiative is lacking, political tyranny ensues and, in addition, economic stagnation in the production of a wide range of consumer goods and of services of the material and spiritual order—those, namely, which are in a great measure dependent upon the exercise and stimulus of individual creative talent.”

    And indeed, the importance and role of the state is reiterated as reinforcing groups and associations, not in replacing them: “As these mutual ties binding the men of our age one to the other grow and develop, governments will the more easily achieve a right order the more they succeed in striking a balance between the autonomous and active collaboration of individuals and groups, and the timely coordination and encouragement by the State of these private undertakings.”

    In many other places in Magister, the Pope discusses the dangers and the need of safeguards against the concentration of power in too few people. Those who see in Obamacare a great good for many people will also find support in that encyclical (as in others), but if they do not find a heavy warning and desire for temperance of state power (which does not exist in Obamacare), then they do not read carefully.

    Finally, turning to Centesimus Annus, we again find the same idea of subsidiarity as a limitation on state power:

    “The State must contribute to the achievement of these goals both directly and indirectly. Indirectly and according to the principle of subsidiarity, by creating favorable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity, which will lead to abundant opportunities for employment and sources of wealth. Directly and according to the principle of solidarity, by defending the weakest, by placing certain limits on the autonomy of the parties who determine working conditions, and by ensuring in every case the necessary minimum support for the unemployed worker.”

    The phrase “necessary minimum support for the unemployed worked” aligns very nicely with the idea of a minimum provision bill combined with a careful reform of existing institutions. It does not align with Obamacare.

    And again:

    “Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

    And in fact, “One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.”

    Obamacare may indeed appear to assist, or even actually assist, with some overarching goals of Catholic social justice. But it is well to remember that the Church is concerned not only with ends, but with means, and with motivations. Making common cause with those who would uphold this sort of legisation as supportable in a Catholic sense would be as dangerous as allying with those who would deny any state actor any role at all in regulation of health care.

  • Michael I,

    You’ve finally made a post around here that I don’t find objectionable in the slightest.

    If I had champagne on hand, I’d drink a toast.

  • 10th amendment period.

  • I think someone misunderstood me, if they interpreted my words to mean that I think this Federal bill, or even one which implemented my perfect plan purely through Federal authority, would be Constitutional.

    The Tenth Amendment clearly states the relevant principles:

    1. The Federal government has just authority only because it is a group of employees hired by (a.) the states, to exercise partially a specific subset of state authority (which the states only have because it was delegated to them by the people); and, (b.) the people, to exercise partially a specific subset of the just authority of individuals (which the people only have because it is delegated to them by God, or to say the same thing another way, because it is intrinsic to their God-given dignity as human beings);

    2. Any authority not delegated to the Federal government by its employers (the states and the people), it does not have;

    3. The Constitution is a sort of employment contract or job description for the Federal government, inasmuch as it is the sole vehicle for specifying the particular enumerated powers delegated to the Federal government by the states and/or the people.

    I’m more prone to verbosity than the Founding Fathers, so their text sums up the above quite succinctly: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

    Now as a matter of fact, the Federal government has no just authority to enact this health insurance bill. I can say this with utter confidence, because the relevant authority was never delegated to them. In fact, in many (perhaps most? I haven’t read enough of their constitutions to say) states, the relevant authority does not even reside in the states, from a textual standpoint. And there’s some question whether, as a matter of Natural Law, parts of the relevant authority resides in individuals at all.

    If individuals lack the relevant authority, they cannot delegate it to their employees, the states; even if they have the authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it unless they actually did so by mutual consent in their adopted constitutions; if the states and the people happen to have the relevant authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it to the federal government unless they actually did so by mutual consent in the Constitution adopted and ratified by the several states; and the relevant authority is, in absolute fact, not listed. It is not among the enumerated powers of the Federal government.

    And this all goes without saying for anyone who has studied the text and the opinions of the Founding Fathers about the meaning of what they wrote. Someone who argues that a national health insurance bill of this type, adopted through procedures of this type, fell within the intended authority granted to Congress by the Constitution as the framers intended, is utterly ignorant of the topic. It is a ridiculous anachronism easily refuted by all commentary on the Constitution, from the Federalist papers to the personal correspondence of the Founding Fathers. It is like saying that, when the Apostle John referred to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” in his gospel, he intended to convey that he and Our Lord were gay lovers. It is jackassery of the first degree.

    BUT…

    The plain fact is that from the court-packing scheme of FDR onward, where the path of Supreme Court jurisprudence was, through outright extortion, ripped away from anything approaching respect for the text, our Constitutional jurisprudence is chock-full of first-degree jackassery.

    It is also plain fact that Congress doesn’t much give a frog’s fat fanny any more whether they have just authority under the Constitution or not to do, well, much of anything. Since the Senators became directly elected by the people, the state legislatures lost their voice in national governance and the states no longer have any obvious voice by which to prevent federal usurpation of their powers.

    And the people? They watch American Idol, or Jerry Springer, or whatever; it’s hard to keep up.

    So it is in the context of our execrable situation, which is unlikely to change soon, that I am willing to countenance Federal legislation which I hope will be helpful, even though I believe it utterly unconstitutional and would gladly see the constitutional (and subsidiarist) balance restored in the U.S. if it could be.

    I could stick to my principles and say nothing but “Hell, no” to any bill which I thought unconstitutional according to Framer’s Intent; and I would do just that were I in Congress. But as a voter, I know that this message, once uttered, is drowned almost instantaneously in the far louder debate about the merits of the bill, legality be damned.

    And so I wrote the post above, dealing with the lack of merit of the bill, and envisioning what would be the attributes of a truly meritorious bill, if one were ever to be introduced…and if it were wise to jump to a radically revamped system in one fell swoop, which it absolutely isn’t…and if the Federal government had just authority to enact it all by it’s lonesome, which I think it doesn’t and shouldn’t.

    I hope that clarifies my position.

  • To Michael Iafrate (and Joe Hargrave):

    You can count me in with Joe, Michael, about agreeing with what you said in defining subsidiarity. It was precisely correct: an apple of gold in a silver setting.

    So, champagne all around. (Since it’s not like we’re likely to have anything else to celebrate in the near future…!)

  • Bookmarking this page for Jonathan’s comment. It raises a question about when it’s acceptable to support an imperfect bill. Is overreach a nonnegotiable evil? What if ObamaCare also outlawed abortion (ignore the constitutionality for argument’s sake)?

  • R.C. nice post. All except the BUT.

    I posted, “10th amendment, period.”

    Compromise, despite how far we may have fallen is unacceptable.

    When you commit a venial sin do you have an excuse to commit a mortal sin, or an obligation to resist the downward pull and repent?

    If we are to truly live the Catholic faith, we are to be uncompromising. The 10th amendment is right and just and despite the fact that it has been trodden under foot, it it still law.

  • RC,

    It clarifies it, I suppose, but I don’t understand the point.

    We can say “hell no” — we can try and nullify this thing. Legal challenges are already being issued, invoking the interstate commerce clause.

    Here’s the issue for me, at least with regard to this discussion: the Constitution is the law of the land in the US. Now I happen to think that the Constitution, faithfully interpreted, is a subsidiarist document.

    But lets say this healthcare bill was truly subsidiarist – I don’t think it is but for the sake of argument. In that case I still don’t think we have any moral obligation to support it, as some left Catholics appear to be insisting.

    As I said before – fidelity to subsidiarity was never intended by the Papacy to be a bankruptcy pact. I am not going to argue that deficit spending is always and inherently immoral; but I do believe it can become so given the circumstances and the consequences.

    In these circumstances and with the likely economic consequences, not only do I think opposing this bill is NOT immoral or somehow out of step with Catholic teaching; I think promoting it with the full knowledge that it will cost nearly 1 trillion dollars that we don’t have, after Obama bailed out Wall Street, passed a stimulus bill that has failed to create jobs, and expanded the American empire – and with the knowledge that it will place a crushing financial burden on states that are teetering on the edge of fiscal meltdown – could very well be morally questionable.

    There is no mandate in CST to spend money you don’t have, whether you are an individual or a government. You can’t ram the concept of “solidarity” as an abstract ideal down the throat of a real society and body politic that can’t digest it.

    I do believe in solidarity. But I believe in real local solutions – distributism, worker and community ownership of businesses, common good banking, and other means of raising capital to fund the projects and programs that will embody our values as Christians and Catholics.

    This federal program is a nightmare. In my opinion, as a student of Catholic social teaching and the many Papal encyclicals on these questions, I say no Catholic is obliged to support it.

  • Deficit spending of money borrowed from one single entity that makes the money out of thin air at usurious rates is always and everywhere immoral, wrong, stupid and dangerous.

    I agree that no Catholic is obliged to support this debacle; however, we are obligated to oppose it. I am not condemning any one’s soul because some people are ignorant – ignorance may reduce murder to man slaughter, but an innocent is still dead and you did it – I know you didn’t mean to, but they are still dead and you are still guilty, only slightly less so.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    I am still paying bills, still have poor credit, and am now a janitor working full time, but forced to live with my in-laws and forgo health care for my young son and wife.

    God will judge this nation, I promise you.

  • No doubt Nate, and I think He will find immense good as well as bad. Sounds like you are a bit sour about your present situation. The remedy is in your hands as it is with all able bodied people with no mental handicap. As the father of an autistic young man who will never have the opportunity to make his way in the world unaided, assistance his mother and I happily give him, I have limited patience for people who have sound minds and bodies and then gripe about lack of opportunity. Opportunities for honest employment and advancement are endless in this society for those willing to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

  • Nate,

    I’m not exactly driving around in a Cadillac myself.

    Like I said before: if we didn’t have trillion dollar banker bailouts, failed stimulus packages, and imperial wars, it would be different.

    In fact, I think it would be cheaper for the government to simply pay the tab of anyone with a treatable life-threatening illness than it would be for this monstrosity.

    There is no doubt that we live in a broken society worthy of judgment and possibly condemnation. The federal takeover of healthcare is not going to change that – that, I can promise you.

  • This is the boldest claim to this end on the conundrum with our Catholic principle of Subsidiarity and the USCCB supporting the bill save for the absence of the abortion language.

    If this bill had passed with the Stupak Language, it still would have done a lot of damage to the dignity and sanctity of life.

    People wrongly say that Rerum Novarum does not address Health Care, but it does!

    An excerpt-parenthesis are mine:

    “To cure this evil (of injustice), the Socialists, exciting the envy of the poor toward the rich, contend that it is necessary to do away with private possession of goods (my paycheck and yours) and in its place to make the goods of individuals (through redistribution of monies) common to all, and that the men who preside over a municipality or who direct the entire State should act as administrators of these goods. They hold that, by such a transfer of private goods from private individuals to the community, they can cure the present evil through dividing wealth and benefits equally among the citizens. But their program is so unsuited for terminating the conflict that it actually injures the workers themselves. Moreover, it is highly unjust, because it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion.”

  • RN doesn’t condemn taxation. Some people have to think through their condemnations more thoroughly.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t such a person be eligible for Medicaid already?

  • RN absolutely DOES condemn what Leo called excessive taxation. Summarizing his list of the positive benefits of worker ownership of productive property, Leo concludes:

    “These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair.”

    Now what constitutes “excessive” or “more than [what] is fair” might be open for debate, but Phillipus’ quote is not limited to taxation.

    It has to do with the FUNCTION of government as well.

    “it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion”

    Sounds like an accurate description of Obamacare to me.

  • Not entirely OT, from Chicago Breaking News:

    While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

    Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

    The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

    But of course, nothing like this could ever happen under the Obama healthcare plan. These liberal pols, who care so much about the poor, would never use their power and influence to jump ahead on government waiting lists for transplants or expensive treatment. Only heartless conservatives would do such things…

  • Well, I don’t condemn taxation; government has legitimate functions that must be funded. How the tax burden should be shared is mostly a question of prudence, though certainly it would be immoral to tax families at the expense of true necessities. I disagree with the proposition that CST somehow endorses low taxes and small government any more than it endorses high taxes and large government. I prefer the former for all manner of prudential reasons, including some grounded in my own life experiences; but many smart good Catholics prefer the latter. It is very difficult to secure confident truths about public policy options because it is so hard to sort out why people do what they do.

    The UCCB is wrong to weigh in in support of this health care bill because it is beyond its charism, which is to speak out against intrinsically immoral things, such as government funding of abortion. They would be wrong to oppose it as well.

    Reminds me of the time the managing partner of my law firm wrote an op-ed piece in favor of gay marriage. He is free to do this of course, but many of us took great umbrage at his being introduced as our managing partner. That office carries with it no special wisdom on the issue, and he should have been more careful to avoid any suggestion that he was speaking on behalf of our firm or that his opinion somehow carries greater weight because of the office we gave him.

  • Donna, isn’t that news report just filthy Chicago political corruption all over? News flash for everyone who doesn’t live in Illinois: this is exactly the political atmosphere in which Obama learned the trade of a politician. Chicago politics have been a sewer forever, as accurately portrayed in this clip from the Untouchables.

    Ness was brought in because Chicago law enforcement was just as corrupt as portrayed in the film.

  • Mike,

    I think the extent to which our Constitution does not conflict with CST is the extent to which we ought to follow it.

    I’m not bringing this up because I think you claimed it, but throwing it out there as relevant to the topic:

    I’ve never seen a Papal document insisting that Americans scrap their Constitution and replace it with the Compendium of the social teaching, or a European-style welfare state. In fact, JP II condemned welfare bureaucracies in Centesimus Annus.

    “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” (48)

    I think this is precisely why so many people opposed Obamacare, and why Catholics are well within the boundaries of CST if they oppose it.

  • Joe, I agree completely on all counts. Surprisingly (perhaps) I do not at all take issue with those Catholics who support ObamaCare (assuming the abortion issue has been satisfactorily addressed — its own issue of course). I give Catholics a wide berth. That said, I do believe it is arrogant for the bishops to weigh in (as bishops) on something they really don’t know any more than you, me or any other AC commentator.

  • Yeah, I agree Mike… its not “unCatholic” necessarily to support it, though I would remind everyone of those warnings about the welfare state from JP II.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the Catholics who DO support it are insisting that you’re basically an anti-Christ who hates poor people if you don’t support it.

    On a final note, I don’t mind the bishops “weighing in”, in theory: in practice, they only listen to left-leaning researchers. I never hear them talk about fiscal responsibility. Why is that out of the realm of moral teaching? Why is it OK to propose and enact grandiose schemes that could bankrupt a society?

    On a related note:

    People who think this is “consequentialism” are – to put it mildly – incredibly naive (or dishonestly abusing rhetoric, as some people who drop in here from time to time enjoy doing). It is perfectly legitimate and I would argue morally obligatory to consider the consequences of ANY action or policy.

    “Consequentialism” is only when one proposes doing evil to achieve a good end – not taking into account the great evils that could occur from the pursuit of good intentions.

  • Again, Joe, agreed. I pay no mind to those who claim that a Catholic must support ObamaCare for the simple reason that the assertion is stupid and I’m far too busy to deal with such nonsense. I also agree that it is possible for bishops to exercise a prudential opinion as bishops but only if the prudential component is not subject to reasonable debate (one can at least argue that the Iraq War satisfied this standard — though such an argument is not air tight). ObamaCare does not come close. Hence, my accusation of arrogance.

  • Joe:

    Well, of course I want the bill nullified, in the court system or by nearly any other means short of violence.

    You say you don’t understand the point of my second post. I think, from your reaction and “American Knight’s” reaction, that I used the wrong word when I said I would “countenance” a bill despite being opposed to it because it was unconstitutional. A better phrasing would have been to say that, while I would still vote against it and work for its defeat, I was willing to debate its merits, measured against the standards of Catholic teaching, apart from the question of constitutionality.

    Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles. (And, as I indicated, I fear the mere fact of something being unconstitutional often doesn’t prevent it being enacted these days.)

    With Obamacare, obviously the abortion thing made it not a good fit with Catholic principles. But I thought there were other things, as well, which made it not a good fit. It seemed to me that when a correct balance of subsidiarity and solidarity was taken into account, the result would be nothing like this bill.

    So I laid out what I thought were the relevant guidelines for a bill which would follow Catholic principles and showed how Obamacare didn’t fit. In the process of doing so, I gave a hypothetical example of an approach which would match Catholic principles far more closely.

    That was all in my first post.

    Sometime thereafter, RestrainedRadical came in and, referring to my hypothetical example, said that I thought federal programs like this were constitutional.

    Since that wasn’t what I meant at all, I wrote my second post to make it clear that I didn’t. The sole purpose of my hypothetical example was to show by comparison how much more Catholic (and generally wise) a bill could be, compared to the Obamacare bill. I would not want even my hypothetical example to be implemented by the kind of federal overreach used for the Obamacare bill.

    I hope that helps make sense of what I was saying.

    On another, but related, topic: Joe, can you help me out on something?

    In discussing the government-provided health insurance issue in another forum, I recently had occasion to quote St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3, the “if a man refuses to work, he ought not eat” bit.

    I took St. Paul to mean, reasonably enough I think, that Christians are under no moral obligation to subsidize a moocher who is entirely able to pay his own way but chooses to remain dependent on others despite having no disability or hardship to prevent him from gainful employment. I did not apply the verse to folk who’re in need through no fault of their own.

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    I don’t mean to talk behind the fellow’s back; and indeed if he sees this note and chooses to reply, that’s fine.

    But I thought that you, Joe, could perhaps give me insight into this point-of-view. To me it seemed pretty wacky but I’m trying not to dismiss the possibility that there’s some logic to it. Any ideas?

  • RC,

    “Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles.”

    Same here. I should have read your first post more carefully.

    Now, as for your questions:

    “Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher?”

    Unfortunately, yes.

    This passage is easy, however to misinterpret, if it is meant to apply to public policy. The CCC, 2427, states:

    “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another.Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.”

    So there is your passage, right there in the Catechism. Work is a duty. However, I would add the following considerations:

    Jesus does say that we are to give freely to all who ask (Matthew 5:42). In my view, this means the following: if a person on the street asks for money, we don’t make a federal case out of it, we don’t attempt to do an impromptu background check and grill them with a bunch of questions, and we don’t assume that they’ll spend the money on booze or drugs if they say they’re using it for food or gas.

    I’ve parted with the money in my wallet with a suspicion that the money might not be used well, but without knowing for certain, I erred on the side of charity. I believe this is what we are called to do as Christians.

    However, if we are talking about a situation in which a known liar and moocher asks for money or something else, then I believe we are fully within our rights to deny them, or, if we can, place conditions on our assistance. We will help them, in other words, on the condition that they make a serious effort to improve their position, to the best of their ability.

    In none of these scenarios do we find prescription for public policy. The Gospels are very thin on political theory, probably for a good reason: virtue is only meaningful if it is the result of a free choice. Jesus says “render unto Caesar”, and Paul says to obey the lawful authorities. The Apostles say to obey them only insofar as they do not conflict with God’s laws.

    Of course, Caesar Obama is not authorized by the Constitution to force us to buy health insurance, or to plunder the treasury to finance universal health care, so in resisting Obamacare we aren’t violating any Christian teaching that I know of.

    “Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?”

    Absolutely not. The encyclicals do not contradict the Catechism. When they speak of economic issues, the presuppose a desire to work for a living on the part of the poor, as well as various problems that prevent full employment.

    The Church teaches that societies are obligated to find ways to provide employment for all. But the obligation to actually do the work rests upon us as individuals.

    John Paul II condemned the “Social Assistance State”, which at its absolute worst subsidizes idleness and laziness. So I would say Catholics have no grounds for insisting that the state do any such thing.

  • Donald and Joe – I don’t have much of a position on this health care debate. In the face of reality, it all seems like smoke.

  • This so-called health care reform bill and the Bishop’s position on the bill praising the increase access for the poor has caused me to research the Church’s positon on Social Justice. I wasn’t aware what a leftest organization that the US Catholic Bishops are.

    Social Justice is in many ways is a less offensive word for Socialism / Marxism.

    Subsidiarity is lost in current Catholic teachings.

    It is not charity when one is forced by the threat of imprisonment to pay for anothers’s health care through taxes.

    I use to feel good about charity to the Church. I’m less inclined to support the Bishop’s from this point forward.

  • Dan,

    That makes two of us.

    I’m less inclined to support the bishops in anything they push in “our” name.

  • We are obligated to be obedient to our bishops – they are the successors of the Apostles. Of course, that obligation is limited to their authority as Apostles – primarily in matters of faith and morals.

    The Bishops financial charity is not an obligation. I strongly suggest that we do it; however, I have been struggling with this all through Lent. Not because of the bishop – I actually have an excellent, faithful son of the Church, pro-life, loving shepherd as my bishop. I assisted at a Mass he celebrated yesterday and had a chance to speak to his excellency during dinner after. He is a wonderful and loving man and a good bishop. He also told me his schedule is already booked for two years. It is not easy being a bishop, especially these days when administration and litigation takes up so much of his time.

    The Enemy is using our twisted culture to force our bishops to be so busy with ancillary things that they are fatigued when it comes to their apostolic mission. We must pray for them.

    The problem with the bishops’ financial charity is that it is administered by bureaucrats and they are overwhelmingly leftists and barely qualify as Catholic, if at all.

    I fear that my money ends up being used to support the enemies of the Church. I am strongly considering directing those funds to our seminary in the name of my pastor and my bishop, rather than to the diocese. This is a difficult choice. Prayer is helping, but I am such a sinner that I haven’t been inspired one way or the other yet. It is so much easier to make decisions as a secularist – they all lead to hell so it doesn’t really matter.

    I am also considering what to do about being a Knight of Columbus, since I just found out that Bart Stupak is too!

    Pray much my friends our government is quickly working to become the enemy of the Church. We must be prepared, like St. Thomas More, I am my country’s servant, but God’s first.

    Pray also for the poor Catholics who chose to seek (not achieve) good ends by the means of the enemy. Socialism, big government, collectivism are never compatible with our beliefs. We may have to live under tyranny, but we cannot cooperate with it. I know I will be chided for equating tyranny with this so-called health care reform bill – but the facts are the facts – this bill is merely one step toward total government (perhaps global) and marginalization of the Church and then out right persecution. It has happened before, it can happen again. Of course, Judgment could come any time before it happens too.

    Engage all the mental gymnastics you want – this law is not only illicit because it does not subordinate itself to the law of the land – the Constitution, but it also opposes our beliefs while couching itself in the tenets of our faith. The devil is smarter than we are. Don’t be fooled by him – we are children of God and heirs of His Kingdom.

  • Dan, then why don’t you take Glenn Beck’s advice and join another church since you’re obviously taking your cues from him?

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    R.C. – In our conversation I said nothing about having an obligation “to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher.” Those were not the terms of the discussion at all. In fact that way of framing it is so incredibly vague that it’s unhelpful. We were talking specifically about health care. When it comes to health care, the church insists that health care is a human right. Yes, “moochers,” even known “moochers,” deserve health care. Whether or not you should flip a quarter to a person you “know” to be a “moocher” is probably up for debate. Sorry, but health care is not. People that you, based on republican assumptions, deem to be the “undeserving poor” still possess basic human rights whether you like it or not.

  • Michael is correct – the right to life includes the right to adequate care of their health. This is true regardless of what human being we are talking about. Jesus demonstrated that when he healed the ear of the sinner who came to arrest him.

  • Don’t forget about the 10th commandment, Thou Shalt Not Steal.

    By taking money away from people against their will is not Catholic social teaching.

  • ‘But whom do I treat unjustly,’ you say, ‘by keeping what is my own?’ Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From what did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common — this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.

  • Henry, individuals and households do manage to produce salable goods and services. We are not all just drawing from some endowment left to us.

  • Oh, and when you say you have a ‘need’, you have an implicit purpose in mind.

  • Tito, my friend,

    I believe “thou shalt not steal” is the 7th commandment… 8th if you read a heretic Bible 🙂

    Nate, my other friend,

    The right to health care does not = the right to federally subsidized health care. I agree that the government has a duty to take some action to make health care accessible – it could do so in any number of ways short of this monstrous and unconstitutional power grab.

    I maintain that Catholics are well within the bounds of Church teaching in rejecting Obamacare, and reitirate John Paul II’s and the Compendium’s condemnation of the expansion of bloated welfare bureaucracies, Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of excessive and unfair taxation, the principle of subsidiarity, AND the fact that CST does NOT require us to dismantle the rule of law in this country – which is the Constitution – in pursuit of utopian ideals we cannot afford.

  • Joe,

    You are correct.

    I had two commandments in mind, but only one came out.

    The 10th is Though Shalt Not Covet.

    Darn N.A.B. Bible. I need to stop reading USCCB propaganda.

    😉

  • Who are the greedy. Those who are not satisfied with what suffices for their own needs. Who are the robbers? Those who take for themselves what rightfully belong to everyone. And you, are you not greedy? Are you not a robber? The things you received in trust as stewardship, have you not appropriated them for yourself? IS not the person who strips another of clothing called a thief? And those who do not clothe the naked when they have the power to do so, should they not be called the same? The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward man as you might have aided, and did not

  • The redistribution of wealth can never be condoned by breaking 1/5th of the Commandments.

  • Therefore let us use our goods sparingly, as belong to others, so that they may become our own. How shall we use them sparingly, as belonging to others? When we do not spend them beyond our needs, and do not spend them for our needs only, but give equal shares into the hands of the poor. If you are affluent, but spend more than you need, you will give an account of the funds which were entrusted to you.

  • Henry, get to the big “reveal” already.

  • Henry is quoting St. Basil the Great, a Doctor of the Church. I suppose he’s putting chunks up slowly hoping that someone will protest against something so that he can then pounce with an “Aha!”

  • John:

    Yeah, I knew he was quoting someone, and engaged in some kind of point-scoring exercise. I had just reached my “Monty Python chorus” moment: “GET ON WITH IT!”

  • Tito is right again.

    St. Basil is absolutely right to condemn selfish people as robbers and thieves. We should give freely and generously – freely being the operative word.

    What exactly does St. Basil have to say about the role of the state? Oh wait… nothing. At least that I know of. If he did say something, I would be interested in seeing it.

    In any case, we have the political philosophy of the Catholic Church to guide us. And what it says is clear.

  • Listen and groan, all of you who overlook your suffering brethren, or rather, Christ’s brethren, and do not give the poor a share of your abundant food, shelter, clothing and care as appropriate, nor offer your surplus to meet their need.

  • ::wonders if sanctimonious lecturing ever changed anyone’s mind on anything, ever::

  • I dunno, Joe. Maybe you could go post “Liber Gomorrhianus” by St. Peter Damien in its entirety in the gay marriage thread over at Vox Nova and see how long it stays.

  • Health care is certainly a right when the means to provide it are available to a degree – there are circumstances that render it untenable some are natural, we don’t know how to cure cancer, a cure for HIV-AIDS is also elusive. Others are our responsibility. Saddling physicians with so much regulation, litigation and insurance costs not to mention the ridiculous cost of their education is dwindling the numbers of physicians we have. Additionally you cannot secure a right for everyone by destroying the means and the capacity to provide that same to anyone.

    Does Jesus want us to take care of the sick? Of course, to the best of our capacity; however, His primary task is for us to pray for the health of their souls and not simply their bodies. The healing miracles Jesus performed where visible signs of his healing message – primarily healing our souls. Furthermore, most of the sick need comfort more than they need medical treatment. Some of us have chronic illnesses, it sucks, but that is just another cross to bear – frankly, I’d rather bear the cross of diabetes than vanity by seeking to be the one who forces others to ‘charitable’. Judas always comes to mind – he always championed the plight of the poor, while he was pilfering the purse.

    I won’t judge anyone’s interior intentions, not my place, but all y’all who are constantly whining about the poor are usually liars and self-seeking vain, prideful ones at that. Charity must be love, it cannot be force, government cannot love. Government does have a responsibility to ensure that the natural free market, the charitable intent of her citizens and the settlement of disputes are not hampered so as to provide access to medical care, when it is possible. Medical care, for acute physical ailments – not health care per se.

    Health care is broader than medical care it includes food, shelter, exercise, education, etc. government cannot provide that, the only ones that come close to even promising that are socialist at best and totalitarian ultimately. As Catholics, we cannot support that kind of a state.

    Furthermore, what kind of contortion do you have to do in order to categorize killing babies and elderly, giving sexual stimulants to perverts, sex changes to poor twisted souls, etc. as health care and then consider that a right according to CST? Y’all who propose and support this twisted logic should get on your knees and thank God for His Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance.

    Again, I will make the bold statement that Catholics not only cannot support this ‘law’, we must oppose it. It is anti-life, anti-Christian and anti-American. We are commanded to be pro-life, pro-Christ and patriotic.

  • In a free society many people do not understand the differnece between a human right a a human need.

    Health care and food are essential to life and are human needs. But needs do not give one a right to property of others. If I’m hungry I do not have the right to steal from you.

    Charity is when you freely give to someone in need. Non-voluntary redistribution of wealth is not charity, but theivery.

    I’ve encounter the moocher that Micheal talked about and have given him money for food. The moocher turned around and told me he was buying beer with the money I gave.

    I’ve not stopped giving to street people, but now walk the person to the nearest store and buy a sandwich. Sometimes the person looses interst and this weeds out people looking for beer.

    I’m afraid this health care reform bill with it’s affordablity credits will discourgage people from doing what they can do for themselves. With a big goverment program there is no opportunity to weed out the moochers and give to the people with true needs. Moochers will multiply without close managment of resources. If the resources are not mananged correctly there will not be enough for those with true needs. This health care bill will certainly provide more beer for the moochers.

    In a society that is not free, there are no human rights, and plenty of unmet human needs. If we continue down the road to socialism, our rights like freedom of speech and religion will be in jeopordy.

  • Dan,

    Freedom of religion will not be curtailed in the USA. All will be free to practice all manner of religion, well, except those pesky Catholics with all that doctrine and dogma – we can’t have that.

    I refrain from giving money to beggars because I will not enable them in doing harm to themselves, but I will always buy them food and drink (not alcohol) or even a blanket or a jacket. I know they can turn around and sell it for drugs, but I can only exercise the prudence that is possible with the charity that is required.

    Social welfare programs invite a self-perpetuating bureaucracy and like any other system it needs clients. Helping poor people improve their situation will render them no longer poor and so you’ve lost a client. It is far better to waste wealth to increase the quantity of poor. Notice how many more poor people (if you can truly call the poor in America poor compared to the poor elsewhere) since the Great Society.

    Is it really justice to incentivize and perpetuate the less fortunate in a state of dependency while increasing the numbers of those who are dependent?

    I don’t think that is quite what Christ or Holy Mother Church means.

    I think He taught something about not giving a man a fish, but teaching him how to fish.

    Me thinks leftists of all stripes confuse true Charity (Love) with mere sentimentalism.